Summary: After failing to provide evidence, The Daily Mail will be forced to pay Melania Trump $3 million for alleging in print that she had once been a prostitute.
Don’t call our First Lady a hooker, guys. That’s the pricey lesson that British tabloid, The Daily Mail, learned recently when they were forced to fork over $3 million to Melania Trump after alleging that she had worked as an escort.
Last year, The Daily Mail published an expose that said the modeling agency where Slovenia-born Melania, then 28, was signed was actually an escort agency for wealthy male clients. The Donald Trump-owned agency was run by Paolo Zampolli.
In the article called “Naked photo shoots and troubling questions about visas that won’t go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian wife,” it stated that Melania and her now husband President Donald Trump met while she was working as an escort, and that she was involved in sexy naked photo shoots.
The Daily Mail’s article ran while Donald Trump was campaigning for president in August 2016. The publication questioned whether or not Melania’s “racy past” would have a negative outcome on the Donald’s bid for POTUS. Obviously, it didn’t, but Melania was not happy with the allegation.
In September of 2016, Melania sued The Daily Mail, seeking $300 million in damages. She and the head of Trump modeling agency, Zampolli, denied all of the escort allegations, and The Daily Mail failed to provide any evidence of those claims. The publication later said that their article was printed not to state she was an escort but that there were rumors that said she was.
This week, Melania had her reputation vindicated when she and The Daily Mail reportedly settled for 1% of her initial ask. The Daily Mail will also pay her legal fees and other costs, and it will also print a retraction and apology.
“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs. Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs,” The Daily Mail stated.
Melania is represented by attorney Charles Harder, who has made a name for himself fighting the media on behalf of celebrity clients. Harder’s most famous win came recently with Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker.
Harder represented Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), who said he faced personal anguish after the gossip website published a stolen sex tape between Hogan and his friend’s wife. After asking Gawker to take the footage down with no success, Hogan sued for invasion of privacy, and a jury miraculously awarded the celebrity wrestler over $100 million. The two parties eventually settled on an amount closer to $30 million, but Gawker’s loss had an even greater consequence for the company when it was forced to file bankruptcy and sell itself to another media organization, who shut it down.
Hulk Hogan’s case was funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, who had held a grudge against Gawker after they outed him as gay years before. In addition to the Harder connection, Thiel has associated himself with the Trump family as a supporter of Donald Trump’s administration, which has called for changes in libel laws in journalism.
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Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast