First Lady Melania Trump has reached a settlement on two lawsuits with the British media outlet Daily Mail.
In addition to the settlement, which include damages and costs, the Daily Mail issued this apology Wednesday:
The Mail Online website and the Daily Mail newspaper published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling. The article included statements that Mrs. Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations, and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations. The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and “staged” their actual meeting as a “ruse.”
We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologise to Mrs Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs.
Watch Top Headline News video on the settlement:
The article at issue, carried by both the Daily Mail and Mail Online, was published in August 2016 with the title, “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.”
The article misleadingly presented possibilities that a Milan modeling agency where Melania had worked was “something like a gentleman’s club and that the New York modeling agency she had worked for “operated as an escort agency for wealthy clients.”
In the lawsuits, Melania’s lawyers argued that the scandalous and unfounded allegations and rumors contained in the articles damaged her capacity to create and run businesses that rely on her status as a “successful businesswoman.”
Although the financial details of the settlement were not announced, a person with knowledge of the settlement, speaking to the Associated Press anonymously, reported that the damages and costs the Daily Mail agreed to pay amounted to about $2.9 million.
A news source with as wide a circulation as the Daily Mail needs to be much more careful about unsubstantiated, tabloid-style rumors and allegations it publishes that can easily be misread as facts. Losing a libel case can be a costly thing. Let this be a lesson to the media.
And don’t mess with Melania Trump!