BY JON ALEXANDER
£130,000. That’s the ballpark figure that Katie Hopkins is looking at having to pay out to food blogger and journalist Jack Monroe after losing a libel case which began on Twitter in 2015. The all-in figure may be as much as £300,000 when all legal fees are totted up. Jack is likely to receive around £24,000 of that in damages, the rest will pay for Jack’s no win-no fee lawyers to get new patio furniture and scoff lobster in the Maldives for a few weeks.
There’s little point going into the minutiae of this case as it has been all over Twitter and the press of late. Had Hopkins bothered to turn up at the High Court then maybe the outcome might have been different but we shall probably never know.
Personally, I have no particular affinity to one or the other woman. To me they are two sides of the same coin and I take what both say with a pinch of salt (Monroe’s recipes for hard-up students look like they may need a couple of pinches of salt, to be fair). I couldn’t care less if both ripped strips out of each other for years to come – they remind me of two women who live next door to each other and can’t help but snipe through the gaps in the fence. Neighbours from Hell characters. Just grab some popcorn and a good seat, sit back and enjoy the entertainment. This cat-fight is not over, folks.
I will say though, one thing that Jack and those celebrating the win have forgotten is that Katie Hopkins didn’t build her career on the back of those who like her and want to see her succeed on a daily basis. Her success is pretty much down to those who hate her. Hopkins’ career would probably have been reduced to a few columns in a small local paper, she would have featured in the odd Apprentice Special but chances are she would have faded into the background and been forgotten very quickly. But the Outrage Brigade wouldn’t let that happen.
I follow Hopkins on Twitter and have rarely seen her pop up on my timeline. However, I regularly see people who hate her re-tweeting and screeching their outrage causing more and more people to visit her page to express their disgust or support.
The aforementioned eye-watering figure for an erroneous tweet will no doubt be a drop in the ocean for Hopkins. I’m even tempted to suggest that it would have cost ten times that in PR costs alone for her book, out soon – her costs likely easily covered by the advance. If I were the publishers, I’d be telling the accounts department to prepare for some serious overtime. Whether Jack has realised it or not she’s probably done more for Katie’s book sales than a hundred appearances on Loose Women would ever do.
Whether you like Hopkins or not, she will come out of this better off. She cleverly and relentlessly exploits her shock-jock niche and she thinks long term. You have to – just to stay fresh in the celebrity industry. She’s not one to let an opportunity pass her by.
When the £24,000 damages have been spent and this court case is a distant memory, Hopkins will still be there. Unless it makes sense to, she’ll not make the same mistake twice. Now she’s seen how easy it is to suffer from libel from a tweet, all those who have libelled her now face being dragged through the same process she was. Some of Hopkins’ more vocal critics are likely right now deleting their libellous tweets and hoping she doesn’t have the time to save screenshots.
Now we know what the libel cost of an errant tweet can be, the next months are going to be fascinating for the twitterati to say the least. And profitable for those canny lawyers, of course.
Who’d have thunk it? The price of a house for an errant tweet.