It was OK for the Daily Mirror to report on claims that Michael Jackson paid £134 million in “hush money,” UK print regulator the Independent Press Standards Organization ruled.
Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson complained about the April article headlined online “Michael Jackson paid £134m hush money to keep as many as 20 sex abuse victims quiet, lawyers claim.” The article said in part:
“Michael Jackson paid out £134million to keep as many as 20 alleged sex abuse victims and their parents silent, lawyers have claimed.
“Los Angeles Superior Court is expected to rule on Tuesday whether two two alleged victims cases can bring claims against the Thriller star’s estate.
“If the judge agrees, damning evidence barred from the King of Pop’s original child sex abuse trial could be heard for the first time.”
Taj Jackson complained that the lawyers listed as sources for the claims were anonymous, that the Mirror cited an old quote from LaToya Jackson that she had since taken back, and that the Mirror didn’t contact Jackson’s estate for comment.
But, all of those complaints were dismissed.
IPSO ruled that it was OK for the Mirror to cite the anonymous lawyers’ claims since they “were clearly presented as ‘claims’ made by lawyers, rather than as fact established by a court or other authority.”
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Concerning LaToya Jackson’s 1993 quote, IPSO pointed out that the quote was accurate, even if she later retracted it, and noted the Mirror said it would update to reflect her later comments.
IPSO noted that its guidelines don’t require journalists”to seek comment prior to publication; rather they provide an opportunity to reply to published inaccuracies.” The Mirror offered just that to Jackson upon his complaint, IPSO wrote, pointing to the Mirror‘s offer to tweak some of the wording he complained about, and post a clarification saying that “Jackson’s nephew, Taj, would like to make clear that the family dispute these claims.”
Jackson tweeted about the complaint, posting on TwitLonger last month before IPSO met to review his complaint. He wrote in part: “Please tweet @IpsoNews and let them know how much the truth means to all of us, and that the lies about Michael Jackson have to stop now. We want justice! The Mirror should be held accountable for printing, publishing, and spreading lies about my uncle.”
After the ruling was issued Jackson tweeted that he was “shocked and disappointed.”
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) October 8, 2015
The Mirror declined to comment on the ruling.