Melania Trump has been paid “substantial damages” by a British newspaper that published false and misleading statements about her, her family, and her modeling career, USA Today is reporting.
London’s Daily Telegraph, in an article entitled “Melania Trump: An Apology,” wrote Saturday that the paper had agreed to pay an undisclosed sum of money to the first lady over a story published last week in its Saturday magazine, in a story entitled “The Mystery of Melania.”
In the story, the newspaper made several claims about the first lady and her family that were actually false.
For example, the Telegraph claimed that Melania’s father, Viktor Knavs, was a “fearsome presence” who “controlled the family”; a statement the paper has since retracted. The paper also claimed that Melania left her Design and Architecture course at the University of Ljubljana because she was having difficulty completing an exam; in fact, the future Mrs. Trump left school because she wanted to pursue her modeling career.
Further, the newspaper claimed that Melania had met Donald Trump in 1996; in fact, they met in 1998. The paper claimed that Melania’s family moved into Trump-owned buildings in 2005; they did not. And the paper claimed that Mrs. Trump cried on election night, a claim they also retracted.
Boom...— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) January 26, 2019
Newspaper To Pay Melania Trump Substantial Damages Over Fake News Story https://t.co/zazyQ1eI8V
Besides cleaning up a variety of minor factual points, the newspaper also admitted that the main thrust of the article was false. Specifically, the original article claimed that Melania by-and-large owed her modeling career to the influence of Donald Trump. As the newspaper later admitted, Melania was already a successful model by the time she met Donald.
“Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump. We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance.”
This is not the first time Mrs. Trump has been awarded damages, or at least forced publications to issue retractions, for publishing false stories about her.
As Variety reported in February 2017, Maryland blogger Webster Tarpley had written, seemingly without evidence, that Melania Trump had once worked as an escort. Mrs. Trump sued, and Tarpley was ordered to apologize and pay a “substantial sum.”
Similarly, as the Guardian reported in April 2017, the Daily Mail was forced to apologize, and pay Mrs. Trump $3 million, over an article that claimed her modeling career included “providing services beyond simply modeling.”