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    Sorry Not the Hardest Word for Elton-Slamming Paper

    Elton John may recently have told a group of photographers that they should all be shot, but make no mistake?he's no demanding diva.

    The "Still Standing" singer accepted nearly $188,000 in libel damages from the British tabloid The Daily Mail after the paper published a story claiming John was a less than hospitable host at his annual charity ball.

    On June 24 of last year, the Mail printed a story under the somewhat self-explanatory headline, "Speak only when you're spoken to, Sir Elton tells his party guests," claiming the knighted singer had issued a "bizarre and absurd edict" at his summer White Tie and Tiara Ball banning guests from approaching him during the fundraising event.

    John filed suit against the Daily Mail after its publisher, Associated Newspapers Ltd., syndicated the article and it was picked up worldwide.

    The outspoken star's attorney, Nigel Tait, told the London High Court judge that the reports portrayed John as "acting like old-fashioned royalty or some tinpot dictator and exhibiting self-important, arrogant and rude behavior bordering on paranoia."

    "In fact, not only was no such edict issued at all, Sir Elton greets each guest as they arrive and is well known for chatting to as many people as possible who attend the ball, not least to thank them for helping him with his fundraising efforts."

    Tait told the court that the allegations of being a downright ungracious host caused John "considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because it was false and he feared it would damage the fundraising efforts of the foundations."

    All the money collected from his White Tie and Tiara ball went toward his Elton John AIDS Foundation, and last year the one-night event earned upwards of 3 million pounds.

    Following the complaint, Tait said that the Daily Mail issued a prompt apology and agreed to pay the substantial damages to the Grammy winner, who will donate the settlement to his foundation.

    "The newspaper has also contractually undertaken not to repeat the allegations and has also agreed to pay Sir Elton's legal costs," Tait said, adding that the paper has still offered no justification for the story.

    The attorney for Associated Newspapers, Matt McKenzie, issued another apology in court: "The defendant apologizes to Sir Elton for the distress it has caused him and for having published these allegations."

    The settlement, which prevented the suit from heading to trial, is the second such payout John has received over the allegations.

    London's Sunday Times reprinted the Mail article and in addition to publishing a correction and apology shortly after its publication, in February they too paid out undisclosed damages to the singer.

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