Laurence Fox ordered to pay £180k in damages to two people he called 'paedophiles' in Twitter spat

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Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £180,000 to two people he called "paedophiles"

Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £180,000 in damages to two individuals he labelled as "paedophiles" on social media following an unsuccessful High Court libel case. The actor who has ventured into politics faced legal action from former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake and drag performer Crystal, previously known as Colin Seymour, over a Twitter dispute, now known as X.

Fox referred to Blake and the ex-RuPaul's Drag Race contestant as "paedophiles” during an argument about Sainsbury's decision to recognise Black History Month in October 2020. In response to accusations of racism made against him on Twitter by the pair and broadcaster Nicola Thorp, the Reclaim Party founder vowed to counter-sue.

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Mrs Justice Collins Rice delivered a verdict in January favouring Blake and Seymour, rejecting Fox's counter-allegations. In the recent ruling, the judge ordered Fox to compensate Blake and Seymour with £90,000 each.

She said: “By calling Mr Blake and Mr Seymour paedophiles, Mr Fox subjected them to a wholly undeserved public ordeal. It was a gross, groundless and indefensible libel, with distressing and harmful real-world consequences for them.”

Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £180,000 to two people he called "paedophiles"Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £180,000 to two people he called "paedophiles"
Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £180,000 to two people he called "paedophiles" | Getty Images

At a hearing in March, Lorna Skinner KC, for Blake and Seymour, had said the pair should receive “at least six-figure sums” from Fox, calling a suggestion the pair should only receive a “modest” award “nonsense.

However, Patrick Green KC, for Fox, said the starting point of damages should be between £10,000 and £20,000, with the total being “substantially lowered” due to an apology from Fox and the absence of malice.

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Ahead of Thursday’s ruling, Fox described the original judgment as a “bullies charter” and said he disagreed “profoundly” with the result. He said in a lengthy post on X: “I don’t know what the judge will award these people. But the costs of these proceedings are enormous. So a whopper of a cheque is getting written in the next few days... We are seeing the courts used maliciously across the west and that is a very concerning trend. So enjoy the victory guys and I hope it is short lived!”

Mrs Justice Collins Rice declined to make an order requiring Fox to publish a summary of the judge’s decision on his X account. During the hearing in March, Mr Green had said there was no need for the Lewis actor to publicise the ruling decision on his social media.

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