The Sun has been forced to apologise to Tom Cleverley and pay him ‘substantial damages for publishing an article which claimed he ‘harassed a girl for sex after meeting her in a Blackpool nightclub.’
It was later revealed that it wasn’t Cleverley who’d met the girl, but simply someone who’d pretended to be the United midfielder in an attempt to impress her.
The Guardian notes:
In a statement read by David Price QC, acting on behalf of Cleverley, the high court in London heard on Wednesday how the Sun had published an articled headed R20;Man U ace begged me for sex at 5am (even though he’s dating)” on 16 August 2011 and on its website.
According to the statement, the article alleged that Cleverley R20;had met a girl in a Blackpool nightclub and bombarded her with text messages offering her sex”.
R20;Mr Cleverley was then alleged to have taken the girl to a B&B where he introduced her to his bodyguard and did a Google search on his name to demonstrate to her that he was a famous footballer.
R20;Most seriously, the article then alleged that he repeatedly badgered her for sex, despite her saying no.”
It transpired that the man involved was not Cleverley but someone who was impersonating him. Another individual from the same town as the imposter pretended to be Cleverley’s bodyguard.
Price said: R20;The claimant was extremely upset and embarassed by the article. He was not prepared to allow the article to remain unchallenged and therefore brought this claim for libel.”
R20;In fact, entirely unknown to the girl it now transpires that the man involved, who looked like Tom Cleverley, was impersonating him. We apologise to Mr Cleverley for any embarrassment caused.”
Getting an apology from the Sun may just be the most amazing acheivement of Cleverley’s career- regardless of how many medals he wins with United.