Morrissey sues NME for defamation

LONDON Sat Dec 1, 2007 2:03am GMT

Singer Morrissey, former frontman of The Smiths, performs under the moonlight at an outdoor concert in Zagreb, Croatia, July 6, 2006. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

Singer Morrissey, former frontman of The Smiths, performs under the moonlight at an outdoor concert in Zagreb, Croatia, July 6, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Nikola Solic

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is suing music magazine NME for defamation after it printed an article in which he discussed his views on immigration.

The magazine criticized the 48-year-old singer for allegedly saying Britain had lost its identity as a result of higher levels of immigration than other European countries.

"We can confirm we have received two writs from Morrissey's legal representatives pertaining to NME and its editor Conor McNicholas," a spokesman for the NME said on Friday.

"NME takes this matter -- and the issues it highlights -- extremely seriously and we are currently in discussion with our own legal representatives."

On Thursday, Morrissey's representatives issued a statement on Web site www.true-to-you.net. His record label in Britain referred journalists inquiring about the case to the site.

"The NME had until 1.00 p.m. today (Thursday) to agree to print a suitable apology to Morrissey. Their only response to this deadline was to say that they 'do not have time to respond to the allegations'.

"Our lawyers are therefore in the process of issuing legal proceedings for defamation against the NME and its editor, Conor McNicholas ..."

In the interview, Morrissey was asked whether he would consider moving back to Britain from Italy. He is quoted as replying that high immigration levels meant England's identity was disappearing, unlike other countries like Germany or Sweden.

In a follow-up interview to discuss the original comments, Morrissey is quoted as saying that high immigration was not the reason he would not want to live in England, and that expense and pressure were important factors.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; editing by Robert Woodward)

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