I did a libel.
I didn’t mean to do a libel, but something I said into an electronic recording device that may have been palpably untrue, then published on the Internet for anyone who happened by to listen to, and then repeated out loud in broadcast form another several times, may have been construed as a libel.
So I did the manly thing, and removed my libel.
Libel is a fun word to say, but not a fun activity to do. Well, unless you’re calling S***n C****l a racist, which he’s not, or claiming that D***d C*****n once ate a dog coated in whisky, which he didn’t, or suggesting that P****e P*****p once jammed his **** up a drainpipe and screamed, “This is for you Liz, my spunk shooter in a tight tube!” which is so untrue it’s positively ludicrous.
Libel is when you say something defamatory in a permanent form. I suppose that means I could spray paint on to a wall the phrase “L****t O**k Fingered Me Against My Will”, but I couldn’t carve that same sentiment into the face of a mountain. Unless erosion counts.
Now, I’m hardly claiming to be in Simon Singh’s boat, who is being sued by Chiropractors for using the word “bogus” and is facing a massive legal battle at great expense. Note how I rather cowardly put the word bogus in quotation marks there. That’s how you can get round it; if you’re quoting someone who said a libel. So if G****y P**k said, “When I sucked *** ****’s nipples, they fell off and choked me” (which he didn’t), I could quote him and be safe.
Private Eye has just won a legal battle, after a lawyer had put a restraining order on the publication for attempting to report that he had been formally reprimanded by the Law Society. In the ruling, the Appeal Court said, “Freedom to report the truth is a precious thing both for the liberty of the individual, and for the sake of wider society.” Quite. But that doesn’t mean I’m allowed to say that the entire cast of ******* once bummed a window up an alley, because it’s not true, I made it up.
The libel I didded is no longer available, but all our other podcasts are: