Mike Ashley suing The Sun over “bevvies and beauties” story

The owner of Newcastle United football club has launched a legal action against The Sun newspaper over what he claims was its misuse of his private information. Mike Ashley took exception to the coverage which appeared last September under the headline “Toon chief’s £125k binge”.

Ashley claims that the coverage that included several photographs of him partying in a New York nightclub and a copy of his bar bill, was intrusive and had also put himself and his family at risk due to the suggestion in portrayed in relation to Newcastle United fans that while the club was facing difficulties he was living it up.

His claim that the use of photographs and bar bill without his permission or consulting him amounted to misuse of his private information may have some traction in the wake of the recent successful privacy action by Formula 1 boss Max Mosley. The fact that he claims the paper did not even consult him about the story or offer any right of reply may be seen as aggravating the situation but the impact of these type of exposees would be lessened if the subject were put on notice and able to prevent their publication. That does not however condone the decision to publish. The paper may well argue that given Mr Ashley’s position and prominence along with events at Newcastle United, their decision to expose elements of his private life could be justified. Up until recently this may have provided some justification for the intrusion on the part of the paper but the Mosley decision makes this less certain and places greater protection over the individual privacy of the person being exposed.

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