Sir Salman Rushdie has received an apology from Ronald Evans, author of On Her Majesty’s Service (“Rushdie Shoots Down Book’s False Claims,” by Mary Jordan, Washington Post). (It’s not immediately evident whether the nickname “Scruffy” was one of Evan’s 11 falsehoods.) Said Rushdie:
“Instead of going for the megabucks, you simply go to court for the important thing, which is to establish what’s true and what’s not . . . I think it’s a clearer and simpler way of dealing with this.”
Said one of his lawyers:
“This is pioneering a new way of reconciling the right to freedom of free speech with the right to reputation,” said Geoffrey Robertson, a lawyer for the award-winning novelist.
Said another one of his lawyers:
“London is the libel capital of the world,” said Mark Stephens, another lawyer representing Rushdie. He said that “people jet in from all over the world to launder their reputations” in London because British laws are “so heavily weighted against free speech and comment.”
To be a plaintiff who loses a libel case in London, Stephens said, “You have to be a moron in a hurry.”
Said Stanley Fish (“Crying Censorship,” New York Times):
Salman Rushdie, self-appointed poster boy for the First Amendment, is at it again.
But that’s entirely another kettle of, um . . . fish.