ITV Apologizes, Lord McAlpine Gets 2nd Libel Settlement over Child Sex Abus

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ITV settled with Lord McAlpine over an ITV This Morning program. (Credit: ITV, screenshot)

ITV agreed to pay Lord McAlpine $200,000 (£125,000) and costs in a settlement for McAlpine’s libel claim against the outlet, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

As iMediaEthics has written, the BBC settled with retired politician McAlpine for £185,000 (close to $300,000) for its Nov. 2 report that didn’t name McAlpine but did lead to McAlpine being considered the person accused of child sex abuse.  The BBC apologized for the report, its director general George Entwistle resigned, and the program that aired the claims was “paused.” After the BBC’s Nov. 2 report, ITV, another UK outlet, “handed the prime minister a list of alleged abusers” and said a “misjudged camera angle” led to McAlpine’s name being shown on TV.

According to the UK Express, ITV and host Phillip Schofield issued a “joint statement” that reads:

“ITV and Phillip Schofield have now reached agreement with Lord McAlpine to settle his libel claim, made in relation to the This Morning programme broadcast on November 8, 2012.

“ITV and Phillip Schofield apologise unreservedly to Lord McAlpine, have agreed the terms of a statement to be made in open court, and have agreed to pay him damages of £125,000 and his legal costs.”

Next up in McAlpine’s libel lawsuits will be “twenty high-profile tweeters,” Lord McAlpine’s lawyer Andrew Reid reportedly said.

Sky News added that McAlpine’s spokesperson said

“This was also done in broad daylight in a premeditated way in front of the Prime Minister. It was that programme that prompted Lord McAlpine to come out with his statement.”

Reid described McAlpine’s settlement with ITV as “pragmatic,” according to IB Times.  He added, the Daily Record wrote, that “I think we accepted the legal argument that the Newsnight programme had effectively set the pot boiling at that point and the Schofield stunt added fuel to the fire that was already there and we had to take that into account. It was listening to sensible legal argument.”

Reid noted future lawsuits will not just “be confined to Twitter” but instead “all social media.”

The Financial Times added that McAlpine’s lawyers said ITV would be taking down “from public records all media coverage related to the defamatory incident.” iMediaEthics has written to ITV asking for more information about the settlement, including how it will be taking down any references to the original report. We’ll update with any response.

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ITV Apologizes, Lord McAlpine Gets 2nd Libel Settlement over Child Sex Abuse Reporting

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