Daniel Johns has received a six-figure sum and a grovelling apology from News Corp. after one of the media giant’s titles published a lurid story on the Silverchair frontman which was found to be inaccurate.
The Australian rocker launched defamation proceedings over an article published August 2019 in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph that claimed he had visited a brothel in the city and depicted in graphic details its services offered. The story was accompanied by photos of the Novocastrian in the area.
In a writ filed to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Johns refuted the article as “simply untrue” and “hurtful, humiliating, and damaging to me and my family,” and Mistress Scarlett, owner of the Kastle brothel, publicly supported Johns and denied the front page story.
Several days after its publication, the article was pulled from the newspaper’s website.
Last weekend’s edition of The Sunday Telegraph published an extraordinary retraction on page 3, which read, “The story was wrong. Mr Johns was not leaving the brothel and The Sunday Telegraph accepts he has never been there at any other time. Mr Johns was in the area because he had been visiting a friend who lived in the vicinity of The Kastle.”
Affiliated titles that syndicated the report also issued an apology.
“We retract the story and we wish to extend a genuine and public apology to Mr Johns and his family for the error and the harm caused,” the statement continues.
Johns’ management declined to further comment on the matter.
Daniel Johns is both an enigma and a giant in Australia. His grunge era band Silverchair, with schoolmates Ben Gillies on drums and Chris Joannou on bass guitar, released their debut album Frogstop in 1995 when the trio were just 15 years of age.
The album reached No. 1 on ARIA Albums Chart and No. 9 on the Billboard 200, and is now the stuff of legend. Each of the band’s five albums went to the chart summit in their homeland.
Along the way, the trio continued to evolve their sound and they bagged six APRAs and 21 ARIA Awards, the most wins by any artist. Johns also enjoyed critical success as a member of the Dissociatives, an electronic music project with Paul Mac of ARIA Award winners Itch-E and Scratch-E.
Silverchair went on “indefinite hiatus” in May 2011, and Johns has since embarked on a solo career.