Daily Mail apologises for and retracts Daniel Johns brothel story

The Daily Mail has apologised to Daniel Johns for running a story which made allegations about the Silverchair frontman visiting a Sydney brothel.

Johns has already received an apology from News Corp’s The Sunday Telegraph over the same allegations. He also received a $470,000 pay out from the outlet.

“The story alleged that Mr Johns had been spending his time at a notorious Sydney S&M brothel and bondage club called The Kastle,” The Daily Mail’s apology, which was issued over the weekend, reads. “The story was wrong. Mr Johns had not been there and he has never been there.

“Daily Mail retracts the story and apologises to Mr Johns for the error and for the hurt and damage caused to him.”

The Daily Mail has apologised to Johns, and retracted the offending story

Last September, Johns took legal action against Nationwide News, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, in the Supreme Court of Victoria for a story featuring a photo of the musician reportedly leaving the brothel. In a statement, Johns denied the allegations.

He said: “On 11 August 2019, a photograph of me was splashed across the front page under the headline ‘King of the Kastle’. According to the newspaper, it was a photograph of me leaving a brothel called The Kastle, which the article described as specialising in bondage, S&M, ‘brown showers’ and ‘adult babies’.

“The article stated that I am there so frequently that it has become my second home, spending up to 18 hours a day there for the previous two weeks. Additionally, it was stated that staff and patrons were ‘fed up’ with me, and I was full of venom and anger.

“The article was simply untrue.”

Johns said The Telegraph did not contact him or his representatives to check the claims, and did not issue an apology and retraction when requested. The newspaper went on to issue an apology in May.

“This false reporting has been very hurtful, humiliating, and damaging to me and my family,” Johns continued.

“It is disappointing that the newspaper has not acknowledged this and apologised despite assertions from both myself, and a representative of the Kastle, that I simply was not, and have never been, there. In fact, I never even knew of its existence.”

Both The Daily Mail and News Corp are in the midst of a number of defamation cases. In June, Erin Molan engaged defamation lawyers for a series of articles she said constituted “some of the most inaccurate, irresponsible and malicious” reporting she has seen.

News Corp is defending multiple active matters, including proceedings instituted at the end of last month by Quaden Bayles, a nine-year-old Indigenous boy with dwarfism, and his mother. Others include defamation litigation brought against News Corp by Gordon Wood, who said a Daily Telegraph video wrongly implied he ‘got away with murder’ regarding the death of his girlfriend Caroline Byrne; John Ibrahim’s son Daniel Taylor; John James Merity, who was wrongly named in a story about a different John Merity being in prison; and suspended NRL player Jack De Belin who has been charged with sexual assault and claims The Telegraph implied he was a ‘rapist’ in a front-page story.

Last month, the company lost its appeal against actor Geoffrey Rush and was ordered to pay him $2.9m in damages, the country’s largest ever defamation payout to a single person.


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