Four years ago, when the NME ran Morrissey's comments about the country being "flooded", the singer threatened to sue the NME for making him look like a racist. At the time, he ended up only suing The Word, who apologised in court for referencing the comments.
And that seemed to be that.
Until yesterday, when Morrissey's people and the NME turned up in court. MediaGuardian reports:
Lawyers for the former Smiths frontman told the high court on Monday that the singer "continues to suffer" reputational damage from a controversial interview he gave to NME magazine four years ago in which he complained about an "immigration explosion" leading to a loss of British identity.The court hearing was to decide if Morrissey could bring an action against IPC and the then-editor of NME, Conor McNicholas. Morrissey contends that the piece remains a blot on his character; the IPC team counter that he hasn't seemed that bothered up until now:
However, lawyers for McNicholas and the NME told the court the claim should be struck out. Catrin Evans, acting for the magazine, claimed that financial difficulties, a legal dispute in the US and an acrimonious fallout with his then manager had "distracted" Morrissey from pursuing his claim against NME.Part of the IPC case is that Morrissey continues to tour and sell records, and that his fanbase seems undiminished as a result of the article - the "nobody pays much attention to the NME" defence.
Morrissey threatened legal action against the magazine in November 2007, days after the interview was published.
According to Evans, the singer dropped the complaint for three years before recently reigniting the row. "The court can infer from this that there has been such a delay that is not a genuine bid for vindication," Evans said. "[The claim] simply didn't figure at the forefront of his mind."
Evans claimed that Morrissey "by his own actions" has provoked "more topical" accusations of racism – including an interview with the Guardian in September 2010 in which he described Chinese people as a "subspecies" – since the NME article was published.
MediaGuardian ends with this:
McNicholas, whose seven-year editorship of the NME was characterised largely by the well-publicised row, was in court for the three-hour hearing on Monday. The hearing continues on Tuesday.To be fair, when you think of McNicholas' period at the NME, it's surely the vanishing circulation that you think of first, isn't it?