Good news today for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. In a lawsuit filed in the United Kingdom against the British newspaper “News of the World”, the court verdict is in and Jolie and Pitt were awarded undisclosed damages for the printing of a false story that the couple were separating. The story printed early in 2010 slammed the couple, said they were meeting with lawyers and that separation and separate custody of their six children was imminent. Needless to say, the Hollywood couple were not happy with the lies and sued in British court.
In the United Kingdom, anyone can sue if they believe a newspaper story about them breaches the 1998 Data Protection Act, which protects personal data of identifiable living people. As far as Jolie and Pitt go though, it’s actually likely they probably wouldn’t have sued if the “News of the World” had retracted the false story and issued an apology. But, even after Jolie-Pitt lawyers wrote to the “News of the World” saying the story was false, the newspaper then published a second story saying the pair were arguing over where the information they had separated had been leaked from. And that’s when Jolie and Pitt filed the lawsuit. Can’t blame them really.
As a born and bred Brit I grew up, as did most of my family and friends, knowing that much of what the “News of the World” printed was innuendo and lies. The newspaper concentrates on celebrity and politician’ gossip, with a whole lot of stories about the Royal Family thrown in for good measure.
In 2007, the “News of the World” was implicated in the tapping of phones of the Royal Family and other prominent people. It has also been sued for libel by several celebrities, including David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, who sued for the same reason Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sued – a court case the Beckhams also won.
In fact, you’ve got to wonder about the “News of the World” and why they’re constantly printing stories that just aren’t true. Presumably, it’s because they bank on the majority of people not suing them with the reality if celebrities like Jolie and Pitt do sue, the payout will still be small compared to the money they make from their approximately 3 million weekly readers. Hey, I’m British but I never said the Brits are above reading this garbage.
As for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the amount of the settlement hasn’t been released, but it will be donated to the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation to be used to help refugees, impoverished villagers, and to pay for healthcare and education around the world.
Pitt and Jolie accept payout over “split” story – The Independent, UK
Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation – Official website