Further to our August 15 and 16 articles "Axed film quango gave £70m to own members" and "Charity that really must start at home", we wish to clarify that it was never our intention to suggest that Barbara Broccoli had awarded herself a huge grant or indeed any grant of public money or had misused any funds. We accept that the grant was properly made to a registered youth film-making charity, First Light, of which Ms Broccoli is unpaid chair of trustees. We apologise to Ms Broccoli for any embarrassment.
What that apology doesn't make clear is that it comes with 'substantial undisclosed libel damages'.
The Press Gazette explains:
The action stems from a story headlined: "Axed film quango gave £70m to own members" which appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 15 August, 2010. According to a statement read out in open court yesterday, the allegation was repeated the following day in the Daily Mail's Peter McKay column under the heading: "Charity that really must start at home"...
Her solicitor Michael Skrein, from Reed Smith, said: "So, she did not award herself or her own company any grant whilst a board member of the UK Film Council and she has not misused public funds.
"The offending publications were deeply upsetting to the claimant and her family and harmful to her reputation."
The court heard that the allegations were repeated elsewhere online, including on The Guardian's Comment Is Free website.
The Guardian adds a further comment from Skrein:
Associated had made clear that it had no intention to accuse Broccoli of any wrongdoing and had made an offer of amends – which involved payment of substantial damages, which she intended to pass to First Light, and her legal costs, and the publication of apologies.