Food blogger Jack Monroe has won damages in a court case against newspaper Katie Hopkins.
Monroe sued Hopkins for damages after she put out tweets that caused “serious harm” to her reputation.
A Mistaken Tweet
The court case came about after Katie Hopkins mistakenly directed a tweet at Jack Monroe which was meant for someone else.
Hopkins wrote: “@MsJackMonroe scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”
She now claims that the tweet was meant for a columnist who had recently written about the vandalising of a war memorial. Instead, she defamed Monroe, with her tweets appearing in a public forum and viewable by anyone.
Mr Justice Warby ruled in Monroe’s favour, awarding her £24,000 in damages. He also ordered that Hopkins should pay her legal costs, with a starting figure of £107,000 in the next 28 days. The final cost will be assessed later and added to her bill.
In celebration of the decision, Monroe tweeted: “It”s taken 21 months but today the High Court ruled that Hopkins statements to/about me were defamatory. I sued her for libel. and I won.”
Hopkins’ lawyer, Jonathan Price, had told the judge that it was a “relatively trivial dispute” which caused “no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm” to Monroe’s reputation. But Mr Justice Warby argued that “whilst the claimant may not have proved that her reputation suffered gravely, I am satisfied that she has established that the publications complained of caused serious harm to her reputation”.
Food Blogging Reputation
Obviously, any harm that a food blogger suffers to their reputation can be severe. Their earning power is linked to the number of followers they have, so if they start to lose followers, it can mean a subsequent loss of earnings. After gaining notoriety with her blog, based around cooking for herself and her son on a shoestring, Monroe has gone on to bigger things as well. She has been headhunted for food recruitment from a number of sources, including running her own newspaper columns and providing regular recipes.
After the judge ruled in her favour, Monroe said: “I am very relieved that it is over and done with. It has been a very long and very arduous process. There have been many times when I have almost given up and walked away. But I started something and I had to see it through, and I have done.”
Her lawyer, Mark Lewis, added: “Jack Monroe never did, and coming from a proud military family, never would. Despite pointing this out to Katie Hopkins within minutes of her first tweet wrongly accusing Jack, Hopkins did not apologise. Rather the self-styled ‘rent-a-gob’ defiantly posted another defamatory tweet. The price of not saying sorry has been very high. Despite repeated opportunities to back down, Hopkins obstinately refused to apologise, instead conducting her defence by slinging as much mud as she could to hide the fact that she had made this false allegation.”
So, how can you become a successful food blogger? The good news is that you need no experience to start, though food graduates may have more knowledge to back up their posts. Creating interesting recipes on a regular basis is only half the battle. A unique selling point – like Monroe’s shoestring approach – often helps to gain popularity, and there is a lot of marketing to go along with it. On top of all of that, figuring out how to monetise the blog can be difficult – but very lucrative for those who get it right.