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Paper must pay Ozzy over ‘freak show’ slur

Rocker Ozzy Osbourne won "substantial" damages over a tabloid report that his poor health had thrown an awards show into chaos.
/ Source: Reuters

Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne won ”substantial” damages on Thursday from the publishers of the Daily Star newspaper over a report that the singer’s poor health had thrown a music awards show into chaos.

Osbourne sued the tabloid for a story titled “Ozzy’s Freak Show,” which said the 59-year-old rocker and reality TV star had toppled over twice just before the annual Brit Awards, which he and his family presented on live television. The article also alleged that Osbourne had to be ferried around the February awards show on an electric buggy.

“The claimant is a highly successful touring artist who has just completed a sell out world tour,” said John Kelly, a lawyer for Osbourne, who was not at London’s High Court to hear the conclusion of the action.

“The publication of false allegations that the claimant was in such a poor state of health that he was incapable of hosting an awards ceremony .... are extremely serious,” he added.

Kelly said the allegations had not been put to Osbourne or his representatives prior to publication, and if they had the newspaper would have been informed they were “utterly false.”

The undisclosed damages will be donated to the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program run by Osbourne’s wife.

The Daily Star’s lawyer, Kate Wilson, told the court that the newspaper apologized for the distress and embarrassment caused by the article, and accepted the allegations were untrue and should never have been published.