Swimming legend Ian Thorpe considering legal action over Daily Telegraph ‘pill’ story

The Telegraph ran a front page story on Thorpe rejecting a mint.

The Telegraph is facing legal action over front page story on Thorpe rejecting a breath mint.

The manager of Australian swimming star Ian Thorpe has signalled he is considering his legal options after The Daily Telegraph’s front page story about Thorpe refusing a ‘white, pill-like’ object from a friend.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald quotes Thorpe’s manager James Erskine confirming that he had met with Thorpe’s lawyers this week and that they may seek to reach out directly to the Murdoch family, which publishes Sydney tabloid the Daily Telegraph, ahead of taking any legal action.

“I think the paper is waiting for us to take legal action,” Erskine told the Herald. “But really, what would they expect? The whole front page of the paper was dedicated to a story about Ian Thorpe not taking a pill, which turned out to be a mint.”

On Monday, The Daily Telegraph’s front page story was a photo of Thorpe being offered a “a white, tablet-shaped object” by a friend ahead of the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras.

This year was the first time that Thorpe, who came out as gay in 2014, had attended the Mardi Gras event.

Erskine described his interaction with the newspaper ahead of publication and claimed the story had strained Thorpe’s relationship with his family.

“I received seven text messages and phone calls on Sunday afternoon from a reporter telling me it was ‘urgent’ with a note that said ‘we have photos that appear to show Ian taking pills last night, please provide a statement as soon as possible’, which when you see the photos was clearly not true.

Erskine told the Herald he eventually texted Sydney Confidential reporter Sally Rawsthorne back a one-word response saying: “Aspirins?”

“When she sent that text to me she knew damned well Ian Thorpe had not taken a pill and she had no clue about what the pill actually was. What’s her next story going to be? John Howard didn’t take ecstasy? Or maybe Malcolm Turnbull isn’t gay. It really is extraordinary,” he said.

Read the full Sydney Morning Herald story here.


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