Labour frontbench MP Richard Burgon has won £30,000 damages against The Sun newspaper, who claimed a band he had recorded with used Nazi imagery.
The Shadow Justice Secretary and MP for Leeds East guested on a track by Leeds band Dream Troll in 2017 – who the British tabloid claimed used “the name of Hitler’s infamous SS security unit as lettering in its promotional posters.”
The poster in question read: “We Sold Our Soul For Rock ’N’ Troll” – a spoof of the cover of Black Sabbath’s 1975 album We Sold Our Soul For Rock ’N’ Roll. Both emphasis the ’S’ in the words ‘Sold’ and ‘Soul.’
Burgon slammed the story and called it “utter rubbish” in April 2017 (opens in new tab), and added the band were “fans of Black Sabbath, not neo-Nazis.”
Burgon subsequently brought a libel case against The Sun, and at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Dingemans ruled in the politician’s favour.
According to the BBC (opens in new tab), Mr Justice Dingemans noted that the online article remained on The Sun’s website for more than six months and no apology had been offered to Burgon. The court found damages of £30,000 were “appropriate.”
Responding to the ruling, Burgon said: “Delighted to have won my High Court case against The Sun. Their slur attempting to link me to ’Nazi symbols’ was held to be false and defamatory.
“The Judge ordered The Sun to pay £30,000 in damages. With that, I’ll fund a paid justice internship for a young person from Leeds.”
The BBC also report that The Sun said they were “deeply disappointed” by the ruling and will appeal the judgement.
They said in a statement: "We fundamentally disagree with the judge's conclusions and, furthermore, fear they may act as a brake on the ability of the free press to hold those in power to account and to scrutinise the judgment of those who aspire to the highest offices in the land."
Speaking exclusively with Metal Hammer in 2016, Burgon spoke about his love of metal and revealed he was eight years old when he discovered Iron Maiden (opens in new tab).
Delighted to have won my High Court case against The Sun.Their slur attempting to link me to “Nazi symbols" was held to be false and defamatory.The Judge ordered The Sun to pay £30,000 in damages.With that I'll fund a paid justice internship for a young person from Leeds. pic.twitter.com/uWlsdhSUoRFebruary 6, 2019