Teasing Elton John doesn't breach libel laws, a British judge ruled yesterday. The notoriously testy singer sued the Guardian for publishing a satirical piece purporting to be a snippet from Elton's diary and poking fun at his lavish White Tie and Tiara Ball. Elton claimed it was defamation but the court decided the piece was perfectly acceptable ironic humor.
"We like to give guests a preposterously lavish evening, because they're the kind of people who wouldn't turn up for anything less," reads one excerpt from the "diary." The singer may seek to appeal the decision but experts believe the ruling will stand as a precedent that brings British law closer to the US system where, as one media expert puts it, "you can't get damages for satire and humor, except in the most exceptional cases."