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Libel win for victim of fake “gay” Facebook profile

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  1. Edward in Los Angeles 25 Jul 2008, 3:53am

    I can understand that there are bigger privacy issues at stake here but someone tell me what is so awful about someone saying a person is gay? Does it mean I, as gay man, would get 15,000 pounds if a friend of mine created a Facebook profile that said I was straight?? Lol

  2. I have mixed feelings here. He’s well within his rights to sue for libel, after all that kind of misinformation has repercussions, not just from random people phoning up for dates which may effect his personal life, but also the effect on his family, and on those he has to keep turning down.
    However, the implied “gayness is bad” message doesn’t do anyone any favours here. This kind of prank, especially if carried out by a gay person has the potential to seriously backfire.

  3. Part of the definition of libel is that the words used must cause the person to be lowered in the estimation of right thinking members of society. If right thinking people think being called gay is so damaging as to be worth £22k then I want to be part of wrong thinking society

  4. @ edward – Well if I were not gay, and e.g. had a girlfriend or wife, I would be extremely angry about allegations that could very easily ruin my relationship. So I am in agreement with penalising people who make such irresponsible statements.

  5. I agree with Adrian T – at the end of the day, false claims were being made against Mr Firsht with the intent to cause disruption to his life and claiming he was gay was just one of them.

    I don’t see why we should feel he deserves any less compensation just because it was a false gay claim – it doesn’t say anything about “gay = bad”.

  6. Sister Mary Clarence 25 Jul 2008, 12:54pm

    I’m in agreement with you Adrian. I think we need to be mature enough to look at things from the perspective of others, rather than our own point of view that being gay is no better or worse than being straight.

    From the snapshot of Mr Firsht’s life we have been provided, we do not know his personal circumstances, whether he be marriage, engaged or even just dating a woman. Understandably suggestions that he was gay would lower him in their estimation, as it would likely do with anyone he has previously had any form of sexual relationship with in the past, as they would feel that he had not been open and honest with then.

    This doesn’t in any way suggest that he, or the partner he has, or any that he had previously, consider gay to be inferior, wrong or bad, but solely on the fact that he did not impart this information as part of the relationship they would likely, quite justifiably, feel misled.

    Clearly there are other issues he and whilst the press may have seized on the gay aspect of the story as their main headline, we again cannot be sure whether this was just a minor detail in a case that focussed on lesser headline grabbing issues.

    Either way, gay or straight, most people would consider it a slur to suggest they are looking to meet or have sex with ‘anything they can get’ (true or not).

  7. thanks andrew, sister mary… it’s kind of saying to potential spouse(s) “this guy is lying to you when he makes love to you”, an attack of someone’s integrity. Actually, a good example is when the sports reporters from the tabloids would bombard the then girlfriend of former Chelsea defender Graeme le Saux with questions about the footballer’s sexuality. She was just as much a victim of the rumours (fuelled by his reading the guardian and interest in museums at the time…).

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