Noel Clarke – High Court rules on defamatory meanings of Guardian articles


The High Court has today ruled on the defamatory meanings of seven articles about the actor-producer Noel Clarke published by the Guardian in 2021, as well as an eighth article published in 2022.

The first seven articles referred to allegations made against the claimant by women who had worked with him in the television and film industry over the previous two decades.

The allegations were variously of sexual harassment, sexually inappropriate behaviour and comments on set, professional misconduct, taking and sharing sexually explicit pictures and videos without consent, and bullying between 2004 and 2019.

They also reported the claimant’s denials of those allegations.

The court rejected the claimant’s argument that these articles meant that the claimant was guilty of the misconduct alleged. It found defamatory meanings that there were strong grounds to believe that the claimant had misconducted himself as alleged and, in the case of the first article, that there were strong grounds to believe that he was a serious sexual predator.

The eighth article reported a decision of the police not to investigate but meant that there were in fact grounds to investigate allegations against the claimant of groping, harassment and bullying.

The order of the court directed the Guardian to file and serve its Defence by 10 January 2024.

Gavin Millar KC appeared for the Guardian instructed by Wiggin.

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The case has been widely reported including:

The Guardian