Naomi Campbell has received an apology and “substantial” libel damages from the Daily Telegraph over an article that wrongly claimed she organised an elephant polo tournament in India.The supermodel complained that the article, published on 3 November 2012 under the headline “Elephant polo at Campbell’s party criticised”, damaged her reputation by falsely stating that she planned the controversial sport for a birthday party in Jodhpur.
The article was republished widely online and prompted protests against Campbell by animal rights groups. Indian government departments wrote to Campbell’s representatives to complain, according to her lawyers.
In a statement read at the high court on Thursday, Gideon Benaim, the lawyer for Campbell, said the Telegraph had agreed to apologise and withdrawn the allegations.
In a statement at the high court on Thursday, Campbell said: “There were never plans to hold an elephant polo tournament, so that allegations should not have been published. However I am glad that the matter has been resolved and I accept the newspaper’s apology.”
Benaim said in the statement that the article had caused “a storm of adverse publicity” against the supermodel.
He added: “Readers were told that elephant polo was cruel and depended upon the violent abuse of the animals by the mahouts who trained them, and that they were consistently kept in chains and driven insane by their treatment. In fact, this story was story was simply false and the criticisms unfounded. There were never any plans for an elephant polo tournament at the birthday celebrations and Ms Campbell had neither organised nor requested the organisation of any such tournament.”
The Daily Telegraph made no effort to contact Campbell before publishing the story, he said.
Speaking outside the high court after the hearing, Benaim declined to reveal the sum of the substantial damages and legal costs.
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This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
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