Beyonce’s father Mathew Knowles filed a libel lawsuit against the UK Sun for its reporting earlier this year that his daughter, a megastar pop singer, “cut him out of her life,” the Guardian reported.
Lawyers for Knowles accused the newspaper of fabrication and sensationalism, according to the Guardian. Although he admits that he was interviewed by the newspaper, his lawsuit claims the Sun “knowingly and maliciously” changed the interview for print publication.
He’s also suing because he said the Sun reneged on a payment for the interview. Mark Maney, one of Knowles’ lawyers in the case, told iMediaEthics by phone July 22 that while he didn’t have the paperwork in front of him as he was on vacation, he recalled the payment was a “fairly minimal amount” between “$3,000 to $5,000.”
Interestingly, Knowles filed the lawsuit in Houston, Texas, not in the UK, where libel laws are notoriously plaintiff-friendly. Maney explained that the big difference between UK and US libel law is the burden of proof.
“This article was so false, we didn’t think that difference would make a lot of difference in the end,” Maney said by phone. Further, he pointed out that Knowles is from Houston and said that “damages rewards are higher usually in Texas then they are in the UK.”
The March 24 article, “I always did my best for Beyonce .. fans can decide if she’s better off now with Jay-Z,” by Georgina Dickinson, was billed as an exclusive and claimed:
“BEYONCE’S dad has talked for the first time about the bitter rift with his famous daughter – admitting he is devastated at being pushed out of her life..”
The article went on to state — without giving any source for the accusation — that Knowles hadn’t met Blue Ivy, Beyonce’s daughter with her husband Jay-Z. Further, Knowles is quoted as saying of Beyonce, whose career he used to manage, that “it was hard for me to let her go,” and that “we both let each other go.”
Changes Between Original and Unpublished Article ‘Stark,’ Lawsuit Says
Knowles’ lawyers, according to the Guardian, said that the Sun‘s reporter Dickinson, who conducted the interview, even gave him a copy of the story she originally wrote, and claimed that her bosses changed her story without her permission.
Knowles’ lawsuit cited an example of the changes, Courthouse News reported, and described the differences as “stark” :
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“The contrast between the story submitted by Dickinson and that published by the Sun is stark.
“For example, Dickinson’s unpublished story discusses how Knowles and his daughter ‘severed professional ties,’ but that ‘thankfully despite their professional split he remains close to his family and loves nothing more than being a granddad to his daughter’s newborn baby girl Blue Ivy.’ The Sun changes this to a ‘bitter rift with his famous daughter – admitting he is devastated at being pushed out of her life.”
Knowles Calls for ‘Journalistic Integrity’
In a statement to E! Online, Knowles called for “journalistic integrity” and said that the Sun “crossed the line” by publishing what he called “lies.” He added:
“The barrage of repeated falsehoods spawned by the British Sun’s defamatory article has been exhausting and personally damaging to me. No matter how many papers it sells or web hits it generates, The Sun, like any newspaper, needs to maintain a basic level of journalistic integrity.”
iMediaEthics reached out to News UK, which owns the Sun, asking for comment and response to the lawsuit as well as the allegations of payment for an interview. A News UK spokesperson provided the following statement:
“The Sun has received Mr Knowles’ claim and intends to defend the claim in Court. As the proceedings are ongoing we have no further comment to make.”
According to Knowles’ attorney Maney, the Sun “agreed to accept service” of the lawsuit and “to file a response to the lawsuit later in the summer.” After that the judge will “set the schedule” for the proceedings.
Back in 2010, German lifestyle magazine NEON fessed up to publishing a fake interview with Beyonce. And last year, Beyonce’s representatives accused the UK Star of running a phony interview with the singer about her marriage to Jay-Z and newborn daughter Blue Ivy, as iMediaEthics reported at the time.
Also last year, iMediaEthics caught Entertainment Weekly covering up an error in its blogpost about Blue Ivy’s birth. As we reported, Entertainment Weekly blogged all about how the baby’s name was Ivy Blue and both how cool and unusual the name sounded. But, hours later, Entertainment Weekly must have found out it had the baby’s name wrong so it changed all the references from Ivy Blue to Blue Ivy without posting any correction.