Sunday Times stands by Jonathan Ross BAFTA fee story

Wossy is not amused and Schillings are having a good week. Cause of complaint is a story run by the Sunday Times claiming Jonathan Ross was being paid £100,000 to host the BAFTA awards in February 2008. Are his witicisms worth the money? the suggestion by the article was that as he is already rumoured to be paid a whopping £18million (over three years) by the beeb why should he get more. Added to this came a quote from his mate Ricky Gervais that he'd nicked the gig from Stephen Fry, who was at least known in the US (didn't Ross spend some time over there before returning to stardom on our screens? so how come they don't remember him?).

The Sunday Times is standing by its story from November 4th while Schillings are defending his honour by suggesting it has been impeached by the falsehood created through misrepresentation of Ricky Gervais' quote. So is the suggestion that a ridiculous fee is being paid to an already overpaid person who is not big in the US? who cares, though if he was any good at football it might seem less controversial. Will his reputation be damaged by either, if true, the fee or the fact he is not - according to what is being suggested as a jovial comment from Gervais - as wll known in the US as Stephen Fry? Hardly. If he's not being paid the fee then why counter the story - no fee, no fact = no story. Is it defamatory to suggest that a comment made in jest by a friend of his means he is less well known than Stephen Fry - one would hope not.

If such a fee is being paid then Ross could donate it to Comic Relief. and no one will argue with that outcome. If not then he can simply provide proof and discredit the story.

Here's a controversial scenario from Mediabeak: he might not be getting a fee for presenting the awards but he may well net £100,000 (and Schillings their fee) if he can scare the Sunday Times into settlement or persuade a court there's a case based on the story.

If Mediabeak is correct, the Times and its formidable legal team aren't going to fall for this one. All the legal grandstanding is achieveing is highlighting the fact that people might believe Ross would be paid £100,000 to present the awards - is the suggestion that he can command such a fee really defamatory - Mediabeak thinks not. Smart money is on the Sunday Times - wots Rossy's action trying to prove? Another case where the allure of a CFA might have got the better of the situation.

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