Last December, on LBC radio, the former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage claimed the anti-Fascist activist group Hope not Hate was not “peaceful” and that they “pursue violent and undemocratic means.” Now, nearly a year later, Farage has agreed to apologize to the group to settle the libel lawsuit that they filed against him, Press Gazette reported.
Hope Not Hate Director of Communications Nick Ryan told iMediaEthics, “This was agreed out of court, with Farage agreeing to withdraw and never repeat his false claims about our organisation. Each side is meeting their own costs, as the case was settled before a full court hearing.” Ryan said that Hope Not Hate and Farage are splitting the court costs for a half-day hearing (a total of around £18,000) evenly and that both sides are paying their own costs. “According to Farage’s own lawyers, he is facing in excess of £100,000 (UK) of costs,” Hope Not Hate’s spokesperson Ryan said. For Hope Not Hate’s part, the group crowd-funded to pay its bill.
The settlement came just before a court hearing on the case, according to the website for Hope Not Hate, a UK community activist group founded in 2004.
“On 20 December 2016, I gave an interview on LBC radio’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast programme, in which I suggested that while Hope Not Hate purports to be peaceful, it in fact pursued violent and undemocratic means to achieve its objectives,” his apology statement read. “Having now considered the position further I am happy to acknowledge that Hope Not Hate does not tolerate or pursue violent or undemocratic behaviour. For its part, Hope Not Hate has made clear that if any individuals claiming to be its supporters were to behave in such a way, that would be totally unacceptable.”
On its website, Hope Not Hate features a pop-up saying, “Farage Legal Case: We Won!” In an article for the Guardian, Hope not Hate’s founder Nick Lowles said that the group asked Farage to apologize and retract his claim, but when he didn’t the group sued for libel.