LONDON — Harrods has been given the go-ahead by the High Court here to proceed with a libel action against Dow Jones for an article published in The Wall Street Journal on April 5.
On March 31, Harrods issued a joke statement suggesting that its chief, Mohamed Al Fayed, was planning an initial public offering for the Knightsbridge store. It was titled “Al Fayed Reveals Plan to ‘Float’ Harrods” and the contact press person was named as Loof Lirpa – or April Fool spelled backwards. April Fool’s jokes are a longstanding tradition in the U.K., where national newspapers and television stations generally will include at least one joke story to celebrate the day.
On April 1, the Journal wrote an item for its World Watch column based on the Harrods release, and followed it up a day later with a correction.
On April 5, the newspaper referred to the Harrods item in its Deals & Deal Makers column. The headline was “The Enron of Britain?” The story said, “If Harrods…ever goes public, investors would be wise to question its every disclosure.”
Dow Jones maintains the Journal was taking a tongue-in-cheek tone, and making its own joke about Harrods’ bogus statement.
Over the past year, Dow Jones has been seeking to have Al Fayed’s libel action stayed on the grounds that the case should be brought in the U.S. and not the U.K. The substantial circulation of the paper, Dow Jones argued, takes place in the U.S., even though it is accessible to U.K. readers via the Internet.
U.S. libel laws are generally much stricter than those in the U.K., requiring plaintiffs to prove a newspaper or magazine published a particular article with actual malice. U.K. courts generally apply a looser set of proofs, which is why many celebrities sue for libel in British courts.
However, in the Al Fayed case, the High Court judge ruled that his court did indeed have jurisdiction over the article despite the fact that it had originally been published in the U.S. He has also suggested that the two parties reach an amicable settlement.
“Judge Eady’s decision is an important result for all companies and individuals in Britain who are defamed by overseas publications which can be read on the Internet here,” said Harrods in a statement. “Harrods is pleased that it will be able to pursue its action, and will continue to ensure that its name and reputation are fully defended.”Dow Jones must file a defense to the Harrods claim within the next four weeks.
A spokeswoman for Dow Jones said, “We’re disappointed that the judge reached this decision in this case which has been going on for a year. We believe this illustrates why the court should take a serious look at this kind of forum shopping by libel plaintiffs.”
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)