Countdown Star Rachel Riley Awarded £10,000 for Winning the Libel Battle

The Channel 4 Countdown star Rachel Riley, 35, has been recently awarded £10,000 after she charged Jeremy Corbyn's former assistant and stakeholder manager Laura Murray, 32, for defaming her reputation. It all started two years ago when an egg was thrown on Jeremy Corbyn during his visit to a mosque in March 2019. Apparently, Jeremy Corbyn was on his visit to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day when he was hit with an egg by a Brexiteer.

In response to this incident, the television star Rachel Riley posted a screenshot on Twitter of the tweet by Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist, about the January 19 attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin. The screenshot of the tweet said, "I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.” Rachel Riley concluded the tweet by writing "good advice" and using two emojis: that of a rose and an egg.

Later on, as a response to Rachel Riley's tweet, it was tweeted by Laura Murray that Jeremy Corbyn was attacked by a Brexiteer with an egg when he was visiting his local mosque and to this Rachel Riley tweeted that Corbyn deserved to be "violently attacked because he is a Nazi." She further called Rachel Riley a "dangerous" and a "stupid" woman and asked everyone to not engage with her ever.

Rachel Riley took this matter to the High Court claiming that she never called Corbyn a Nazi and that Murray's tweet is causing some serious damage to her reputation. According to Riley, she was being sarcastic in her tweet and he nowhere called Corbyn a Nazi. Moreover, she stated the fact that she was simply sharing her honest views on the matter. She also presented her disappointment with the hate that circulates on Twitter.

Riley later sued Ms Murray for libel after a Twitter row over Corbyn and she has the vindication over Murray's "unpleasant" tweet posted over two years back. The case was handled by Mr Justice Nicklin. He finally solved the two-year-long battle. As per Justice Nicklin, Rachel Riley had enough proof to demonstrate how her image had been tarnished by Ms Murray. Justice Nicklin took into account both parties and he concluded that both ladies had been genuine in presenting their evidence and that they did their best to help the court.

Justice Nicklin agreed that Ms Murray's tweet was of defamatory nature. As per Nicklin, the tweet stated that Ms Riley was of the opinion that Corbyn "deserved to be violently attacked" because he was a Nazi and by doing that Ms Riley has presented herself as both stupid and dangerous and called for unlawful violence against Nazis, and therefore, no one should engage with her ever.

The judge was also asked to interrogate if serious damage has been caused to the public reputation of Ms Riley and if Laura Murray has anything to say in her defence. Everything finally worked in the favour of Ms Riley as Ms Murray had nothing to say in her defence or public interest.

Ms Riley also brought it to the Judge's knowledge that she herself is Jewish had "hatred of antisemitism." The television star is currently on maternity leave and she is glad that she has finally won the battle.

Although Riley never wanted the things to take such an ugly turn, she is finally relieved after having the vindication and winning her libel case against Laura Murray. She claimed that it was a very draining process and that she is now at ease. Moreover, she further hopes that this incident serves as an example for anyone who tries to defame people unnecessarily even on platforms like Twitter. As per Riley, the Corbyn-led Labour Party was favouring antisemitism and the tweet by her was to raise a voice against it.

On the other hand, Laura Murray told the judge that her job involved finding solutions to the issue of antisemitism which was there in some parts of the Labour Party membership.

It seems Ms Murray has misinterpreted the intentions of Ms Riley and she has offended her by calling her outrageously dangerous. On this, Riley said that she was really taken aback on being called "stupid and dangerous."

It was a sarcastic comment in her view but the way Murray interpreted it created a row on Twitter. It was made to look as if Rachel was advocating violence which was actually not the case. She further called it a publicity stunt by Murray and that she was provoking her followers to direct unjustified hate at her.

Riley also told the High Court about the false allegations made in the tweet by Murray and how vulnerable it made her feel. She was worried about getting physically attacked after getting too many hate and abusive messages from people.

She even told how it affected her work life as she was unable to focus on her work and have had many sleepless nights worrying about the threats she was getting.

But Murray told the court that her intentions were not to defame Rachel. She even said that she felt Rachel's tweet to be 'deliberately provocative' by tweeting 'good advice' on the day Corbyn was attacked. 

Ms Murray also told the court that every other comment on Rachel's tweet was about asking her how she can call Corbyn a Nazi and that she was not alone who felt that Rachel's tweet was against Nazis.

Long story cut short, the matter has been successfully resolved after such a long time. We don't know who misinterpreted whose tweet but as per the law Rachel had no antisemitic intentions. After listening to both sides of the story, the High Court finally decided to award £10,000 to Ms Rachel for whatever she has to go through. Hope such incidents create awareness among people to not tweet anything without giving it a second thought.