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Donovan v The Face

206 words (1 pages) Case Summary

5th Oct 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Legal Case Summary

Donovan v The Face [1992] (Unreported)

Libel; newspaper


The claimant, Jason Donovan, was a successful singer. In the early 1990s, the magazine called The Face published an article alleging that Mr Donovan was homosexual.


Mr Donovan argued that, as he had always presented himself as straight, The Face magazine committed libel by alleging that he had deceived the public about his sexual orientation. In other words, the issue in this case was not whether calling someone gay was capable of being a defamatory statement – it is safe to say that no modern would find such a statement defamatory in itself. The issue was rather that the claimant was labelled a liar or a hypocrite by presenting himself as heterosexual when, in the magazine’s opinion, he was in fact gay.

Decision / Outcome

The Court found in favour of the claimant and accepted his argument that, by calling him gay, the defendant magazine caused him to be seen as a liar for posing as straight. The claimant was thus able to establish a case for libel.

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Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

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