When Salman Rushdie, the legendary author and worldwide free-speech icon, took up a defamation case against his former bodyguard over an upcoming tell-all book, he opted not to go for, as he calls it, the "megabucks."
Instead, in libel-happy Britain, Rushdie asked for and on Tuesday got a simple, swift apology and an acknowledgment that the published allegations in question are false. According to The Washington Post, the presiding judge "applauded the ‘speedy resolution’" of the case, and Rushdie’s attorneys hoped it might serve as a new model for resolving defamation cases there.
"London is the libel capital of the world," attorney Mark Stephens told The Post — the financial rewards are hefty and the laws are built such that, he said, to lose a libel case, "You have to be a moron in a hurry." But Rushdie only asked for the money to cover his lawyers’ costs.
According to The Associated Press, author Ronald Evans’s book, "On her Majesty’s Service," in which he described his work for Rushdie, is reportedly due to be published in September "with some amendments" now that the case has been resolved.
Evans was a police officer and worked as a bodyguard for Rushdie after Islamic fundamentalists issued a death warrant for him over "The Satanic Verses." In his book, according to The AP, Evans claims Rushdie tried to profit from the threats he received.
Explaining his decision to take Evans to court over the book, Rushdie told The Post, "Lies are lies."