The Daily Mail will pay Gopal £25,000 for libel damagesnoella chye

Content warning: this article contains discussion of racism and harassment

The Daily Mail yesterday (12/11) “set the record straight” that a column which claimed that Cambridge Professor Priyamvada Gopal “was attempting to incite an aggressive and potentially violent race war” and that “she supports and endorses the subjugation and persecution of white people” was based on false information.

The Daily Mail apologised for “any distress caused” and have “agreed to pay her damages for libel.” These libel damages amount to £25,000 and in a press release, Gopal’s lawyers detailed that the Daily Mail will also reimburse Gopal for her legal fees.

Speaking today (13/11), Professor Gopal, an English Fellow at Churchill, said: “I am pleased that the Mail has apologised for what it accepts were completely unfounded allegations. I have suffered appalling racist abuse myself, which made the publication of these allegations (and the increased abuse that followed) even more distressing. I am vigorously opposed to all forms of racism, and will continue to advocate and campaign for equal rights for everyone.”

The allegations about Gopal were made in a Daily Mail column published on June 27th. Gopal’s lawyers’ press release outlined that the column “purported to quote from a tweet by Professor Gopal a few days earlier. However, that tweet had been sent from a fake account, had nothing to do with Professor Gopal and did not reflect her views.”

The press release continued: “The fact that the tweet was fake had already become clear on Twitter by the time the article was published (and indeed Sarah Vine, another well-known Mail columnist, had tweeted that fact), yet apparently the Mail did not carry out even the most basic of checks – still less approach Professor Gopal for comment.”

The Daily Mail’s clarification similarly recognized the falsified nature of the tweet which the column referenced, however, unlike Gopal’s lawyers, the Daily Mail’s clarifications suggested that they were unaware of this and have only “subsequently learnt [it] was fake.”

Gopal’s lawyers also stressed that the article was “rendered even more misleading, and defamatory, by the fact that it contained a partial quote from a genuine tweet by Professor Gopal”.

The Daily Mail’s clarifications recognised this, saying: “We also partially quoted another tweet from Professor Gopal as saying: ‘White lives don’t matter.’ The tweet in fact continued: ’As white lives.’” Making it quite clear that “Professor Gopal’s actual view is that all lives should be valued.”


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Gopal’s lawyers detailed that Gopal has “has made clear publicly, this statement was a response to the White Lives Matter banner flown over Burnley FC’s stadium on 22 June 2020, which caused widespread outrage. As the Mail now accepts, the tweet simply reflected Professor Gopal’s belief that a life should be valued irrespective of its ‘whiteness’, and was not motivated in any way by racial hatred.”

Their statement continued: “It did not in any way justify the false and defamatory imputations published by the Mail”.

When the Daily Mail column was originally published, Gopal faced a wave of widespread abuse, particularly online. Cambridge University tweeted in defence of its academics’ right to express opinions, condemning personal attacks and abuse, after a petition to fire Dr Priyamvada Gopal was launched.

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