Robbie Williams, the former Take That star who successfully sued the People and the Daily Star over claims that he was secretly gay, has been accused of hypocrisy after he joked that his footballer friend Robbie Savage, is gay.
Williams told a packed Amsterdam Arena that he had news about the Blackburn Rovers star Savage. Williams said: “he’s coming out.”
Cameras then focused on Savage, who is married with a son, displaying his face to 65,000 cheering fans.
The Welsh international star told the Sun: “I was so embarrassed. I’m a dad and happily married.
“I knew Robbie was up to something before the show but I still can’t believe he did it in front of all those people.
“I’ll get my own back.”
In December of last year, Williams won an apology and undisclosed damages from MGN Ltd and Northern Shell plc, who publish the People and the Daily Star respectively.
William’s barrister, Tom Shields QC, told the court that the singer “is not, and has never been, homosexual.”
The court heard that the People’s front page story,” Robbie’s secret gay lover” insinuated that the star intended to mislead the public by claiming to be straight whilst in reality, the newspaper claimed that he engaged in gay sex with strangers.
The newspaper further claimed that the singer had enticed a stranger into a toilet in a Manchester nightclub where he asked the man to perform a sexual act. The People also claimed that Mr Williams engaged in a gay sexual act with a stranger behind the club.
Zoe Norden, solicitor for MGN and Northern Shell, apologised on behalf of her clients: “I accept that the allegations to which my friend has referred were untrue. The defendant apologises to the claimant and expresses its regret for the injury and distress caused.”
Following the award of damages, the gay and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell claimed in a column for PinkNews.co.uk that William’s “legal action has created the impression he thinks it is shameful to be gay.” Adding: “If he sees nothing wrong with being gay, why did he sue for libel?”
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of the gay lobbying group Stonewall warned that William’s latest outburst “risks appearing hypocritical.”
Mr Summerskill added: “I know Robbie’s explanation for mounting the case was that the tabloids made lurid suggestions suggesting that he had gay sex in public toilet.
“Clearly, when he launched his case, he wasn’t very mindful of the damage that it does to suggest that there’s something wrong with being gay.”