Friday 30 March 2012, 11:54 | By CMU Editorial
Tulisa’s PR reps sue over false statement claims
PR reps for one time N-Dubber Tulisa Contostavlos have told Press Gazette they are suing media blog Fleet Street Blues over allegations they lied after the singer and ‘X-Factor’ judge’s infamous sex tape appeared online earlier this month.
As previously reported, shortly after the sex tape emerged on the net – and was swiftly taken offline by a cease and desist from Contostavlos’s lawyers – it was widely reported in the tabs and online that a representative for the singer had denied it was the star in the tape. The quote said the recording was “100% fake”, adding that Team Tulisa were “horrified that someone would go to the extreme lengths of fabricating a video … it is absolutely not her”.
Though, as also previously reported, that statement, generally credited to the singer’s lawyers, actually originated from last summer, when reports first started to circulate that someone was shopping a Tulisa sex video to porn firms in London. Once the actual sex tape went online earlier this month her lawyers went quiet on the matter, while her PR reps issued a clear “no comment”. Contostavlos, of course, subsequently took to YouTube to confirm it was her in the video, and that she was mortified that her ex-boyfriend Ultra had decided to make the recording available online.
It seems Fleet Street Blues may have said that that old denial from the singer’s lawyer was in fact a new denial from her PR reps, Hackford Jones, meaning that when Contostavlos subsequently fessed up, it looked like the publicists had been lying through their teeth. And, according to the Gazette, the firm’s Simon Jones is not impressed with having been accused of lying, and is now taking legal action against the blog, despite the offending post being removed.
Says Jones: “[There were] some pretty outlandish claims on the blog. At the end of the day, we all work in the media and mistakes are always made, but the point is I’m happy to hold up my hands if I’ve made a mistake, but I’m not happy to be accused of something I haven’t done. People [have] mistakenly attributed a quote to me with regard to the sex tape that wasn’t issued. The sex tape came out on the Sunday online, and from the moment it came online all we did was issue no comment”.
He continued: “Once that video came to light, we’re hardly going to be issuing denials that it was her, it’s clearly her on the sex tape. [But that's what this site said we did, and] everyone in the industry knows that I look after Tulisa, and it’s an industry blog. The thing I take most affront to is we feel our reputation is on not lying to the media at all and we stand very strongly against lying to the media… so to be pulled out as a poster boy for PRs who lie, it really galled me”.
The people behind the Fleet Street Blues blog are yet to comment, though the whole website seems to have gone offline since the PR firm’s legal action began. Meanwhile, Hackford Jones has also confirmed that Sky News is facing legal action over its claims Contostavlos lied to the court when her people applied for an injunction to stop any distribution of the sex tape. It’s thought those allegations were based on the assumption the injunction was being sought on libel grounds (ie by claiming it wasn’t her in the tape) rather than privacy grounds (because it was).
Jones concludes: “There’s been so much misreporting around this case, which is funny in a way because in this age of Leveson when you think that everyone should be fact checking, even today people are still running stories based on hearsay. You do get to the point where you think, ‘I’m sorry I have to set the record straight'”.
No word yet on whether Contostavlos’s other ex-boyfriend, fellow N-Dubber Fazer, plans to sue for libel third N-Dubz member Dappy, who claimed via Twitter that he recognised the penis that starred in the sex tape, and that it definitely belonged to his former bandmate, who, the Dapster reckoned, had uploaded the sex video in revenge for his and Tulisa’s messy break up. I’ve not seen the tape, or Ultra’s genitals, but perhaps Fazer was happy for the world to believe the cock on camera belonged to him for 48 hours. Even if that meant they thought he was also the cock who uploaded the recording.