Musician Daniel Johns begins defamation proceedings against The Sunday Telegraph

Nationwide News, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, is facing another defamation case, this time from Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns.

Johns alleges that The Sunday Telegraph ran a story on 11 August 2019 which showed a photo of the musician, reportedly leaving a brothel, with an article which described the sexual acts the brothel specialises in, including “brown showers” and “adult babies”.

Johns denies the allegations and said in a post to Facebook that the article was ‘simply untrue’.

STATEMENT BY DANIEL JOHNS Today, I commenced defamation proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria against The…

Posted by Daniel Johns on Wednesday, 18 September 2019

A statement released to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week by Johns’ lawyers reportedly stated that the proceedings, which have been lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria, named “The Sunday Telegraph, its editor and a journalist”.

Mick Carroll is the editor of The Sunday Telegraph and Amy Harris was the journalist who wrote the story about Johns. News Corp Australia is the parent company of Nationwide News.

In a public statement, Johns said he had initially requested the publication issue an apology and a retraction, but that neither has been provided. He called the article ‘hurtful, humiliating and damaging’ to both himself and his family, and stated he had never been to the brothel in question – The Kastle.

On 11 August, the day the article was printed, the owner of The Kastle tweeted her support of Johns, stating he had never been on the premise and that the venue takes its privacy ‘very seriously’.

A statement of claim lodged in the Supreme Court of Victoria by Johns’ lawyers alleges that the article defamed the musician because it inferred he was a ‘sexual pervert’ who ‘uses the services of prostitutes at one of Sydney’s most notorious brothels’.

The story also alleged Johns was such a frequent customer at the brothel that it had ‘become his second home’, but that staff were beginning to take issue with his ‘aggressive’ manner.

Johns is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

The images of Johns were taken by photographer Damian Shaw and captioned with “Chippendale 8pm, Saturday” – alleging to have been taken after a “two-week bender”. The article is no longer available online.

In July, actor John Jarratt launched a defamation case against The Daily Telegraph after a jury found him not guilty of rape. His lawyer, Chris Murphy, took to Twitter to announce the claim. In August, the claim was dropped.

Actor Geoffrey Rush was awarded a $2.87m record-breaking payout after the judge presiding over his defamation case against Nationwide News ruled in his favour. Rush was suing over an article which alleged he behaved inappropriately towards actor Eryn Jean Norvill. The judge on the case branded the stories “recklessly irresponsible journalism of the very worst kind”.

Nationwide News has declined to comment.


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