The Mail Online is paying Madonna and her newly adopted four-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Estere, after the singer sued for invasion of privacy over its article detailing the girls’ names, race, age, location and adoption status. The Mail‘s article was published in January 2017, but Madonna didn’t adopt the children until February.
Madonna sued the Mail, with her lawyer Jenny Afia saying in court the article could “have threatened the integrity and/or outcome of the adoption process,” the Guardian reported. The Mail ended up offering to pay damages and costs to end the case. Afia told iMediaEthics in a statement by e-mail, “Madonna brought this litigation because the newspaper threatened her girls’ safety by naming them before they were adopted. She will always take all possible steps to protect her family’s well-being.” iMediaEthics was also sent the High Court statement (see here in full) which states that Madonna considered the article a “serious invasion of privacy” because she wanted to keep the adoption “strictly private and confidential” until the process was completed.
It appears the article in question is the Jan. 26, “Exclusive: Madonna IS trying to adopt four-year-old twins named Stella and Esther from Malawi.” That article is still published on the newspaper’s website.
In an e-mail to iMediaEthics, a Mail spokesperson argued the information was in the public domain on Madonna’s Instagram account and claimed that the report was newsworthy since Madonna had publicly denied that she was trying to adopt at the time.
“MailOnline’s position was that Madonna’s own conduct in deliberately falsely denying the media reports concerning the proposed adoption prior to our publication was clearly relevant to the assessment of what information it was appropriate for us to publish, and the reasonableness of the belief that such publication was in the public interest,” the Mail spokesperson said.
“Madonna had herself published photographs on her Instagram account of her family taking a particular interest in the girls, together with their names and location during the course of the adoption process,” the Mail argued. “This information was thereby in the public domain at the time of publication and it is surprising that she did not consider that this global publication to many millions of her followers was in any way objectionable or would place the girls in any jeopardy, by contrast to our publication.”
Further, the Mail noted Madonna publicly shares information about her other children and that the Mail didn’t intend or believe the girls were “exposed to harm.”
The Mail‘s website doesn’t appear to have published any statement about the matter, but the Mail did publish an Associated Press story about the settlement.