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Elton John won undisclosed libel damages and an apology from a British newspaper on Thursday over a story which said the singer had acted "in a self-important, arrogant, and rude manner" at one of his AIDS charity functions. At London's High Court, John's lawyer told the judge the rock star had sued over a 2005 article in the Sunday Times headlined "Rock Royals Get Too Grand" about his AIDS Foundation Summer Ball.
The story said the singer had issued a "bizarre and absurd edict to guests at his annual charity fund-raising White Tie and Tiara summer ball not to address him unless spoken to." Hanna Basha said the story had caused her client considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because he feared it would be damaging to his fund-raising efforts. She said that Times Newspapers Ltd. now accepted that the allegation was untrue and should not have been made. It has agreed to publish an apology and pay damages to John, which he will donate to his AIDS Foundation. The publishers will also pay his legal costs.
"As soon as the defendant found out the story was untrue--it had been picked up from another newspaper--it immediately apologized to Sir Elton, and it is happy to repeat that apology here today," Times Newspapers' lawyer Alastair Brett said. The singer set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992. The White Tie and Tiara Ball has raised at least $5.2 million a year for it. (Reuters)