Here’s some rare good news for 2016: the Daily Mail and Katie Hopkins have been forced into a humiliating climbdown for smearing a Muslim family as ‘extremists’.
At 2am today, Katie Hopkins tweeted an apology to the Mahmood family, presumably hoping not many would notice it that early in the morning.
It is rare for the Daily Mail and Katie Hopkins to apologise, let alone pay substantial costs for it.
The full apology explains what happened:
An article published in Katie Hopkins’ column on 23 December 2015 (‘Just because Britain’s border security is a Mickey Mouse operation you can’t blame America for not letting this lot travel to Disneyland – I wouldn’t either’) suggested that Mohammed Tariq Mahmood and his brother, Mohammed Zahid Mahmood, are extremists with links to Al Qaeda; that their purported reason for visiting the USA – namely to visit Disneyland – was a lie; and that US Homeland Security were right to prevent them from boarding their flight. We are happy to make clear that Tariq Mahmood and Zahid Mahmood are not extremists, nor do they have links to Al Qaeda. They were travelling to the USA with their families to see one of their brothers for a holiday in California and they had indeed planned to visit Disneyland as part of their trip.
In addition a further article in Katie’s column on 29 December (‘A brave Muslim tried to warn us their week about the extremists taking over his community. What a tragedy it is that our PC politicians would rather not know’) suggested that Hamza Mahmood (Mohammed Tariq Mahmood’s son) was responsible for a Facebook page which allegedly contained extremist material. Our article included a photo of the family home. Hamza Mahmood has pointed out that he is not responsible for the Facebook page, which was linked to him as a result of an error involving his email address. We are happy to make clear that there is no suggestion that either Hamza nor Taeeba or Hafsa Mahmood (Hamza’s mother and sister) have any links to extremism.
We and Katie Hopkins apologise to the Mahmood family for the distress and embarrassment caused and have agreed to pay them substantial damages and their legal costs.
Last week the Sun deleted her article calling refugees “cockroaches” following a campaign by Stop Funding Hate.
UPDATE: The Guardian reports they paid out £150,000 to the family.
This is what happens when you employ Hopkins as a columnist