Laurence Fox ordered to pay £36,000 legal fees to actor, Drag Race queen and ex-Stonewall trustee
Actor and failed London mayoral candidate Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay £36,000 in legal fees in an ongoing libel battle after he accused several people of being “paedophiles”.
In October 2020, Fox, 44, described Drag Race UK‘s Crystal, former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake and Coronation Street actor Nicola Thorp as “paedophiles” after they criticised him for accusing the supermarket Sainsbury of “discrimination” for honouring Black History Month.
The three launched a defamation case against him, to which he filed a countersuit over their accusations of racism.
Fox requested a jury trial – a rarity in a defamation cases – claiming that “a judge could show involuntary bias”, however his request was denied.
As a result, a judge on Thursday (26 May) ordered Fox to cover the £36,684 legal costs accrued by Crystal, Blake and Thorp in responding to his request.
“I think it would be fair for me to say that this was an ambitious application,’ Mr Justice Nicklin said.
Fox’s own legal costs for the trial bid amounted to just over £116,000, court documents have shown. He has 21 days to pay the other parties’ costs.
At the 18 May hearing in which he denied Fox’s request for a jury, Nicklin said: “The defendant has not satisfied me that a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that a judge trying this case alone would suffer from ‘involuntary bias’.
“The fair-minded and informed observer must be taken to know that, faithful to his/her judicial oath, the judge in this case would be required to apply the law to the determination of the issues in the case, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.”
In a statement announcing her intention to sue, Crystal said in October: “I will not stand for racism when I see it, and I will not stand for homophobic defamation when it is directed at me.
“An accusation of paedophilia is one of the oldest homophobic tropes, and it was very shocking to have that levelled at me, not just by Laurence Fox, but also his many followers who believed him.
“I may have had to endure homophobic bullying as a child, but I will not tolerate it as an adult.”
This is not the first time Fox has caused outrage over his behaviour on social media; separate to his lawsuit, the BBC’s LGBTQ+ correspondent Ben Hunte claimed in 2020 that he had been sent “racist and homophobic abuse” after Fox tweeted about him.
The next hearing in the case is now due in the autumn.