Joey Barton to pay Jeremy Vine £75,000 after social media libel case

Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine (PA Archive)
Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine (PA Archive)

Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine and agreed to pay the broadcaster £75,000 in damages after branding the broadcaster a “bike nonce” on social media.

The Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter sued Barton for libel and harassment over 14 online posts, including ones where he called Mr Vine a “big bike nonce” and a “pedo defender” on X, formerly Twitter.

Last month, Barton suffered a humiliating High Court defeat in a preliminary stage of the legal case, when Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that 11 of the posts had defamatory meanings.

Barton, who had vowed to fight the libel case, has now conceded defeat, publishing a groveling apology and agreeing to pay £75,000 in damages to Vine, plus his legal costs.

However, Vine says the payout is not the end of the dispute, and claims further damages are coming.

Barton, writing on X, formerly Twitter, said: “Between  8  and  12  January  2024  I  published  11  posts  which  accused  Jeremy  Vine  of  having  a sexual interest  in  children,  and  created  a hashtag  which  made  the  same  allegations, which  were viewed  millions  of  times.

“I  recognise  that  this is  a  very  serious  allegation.  It is untrue.  I  do  not believe that Mr Vine has a sexual interest in children, and I wish to set the record straight.

Jeremy Vine arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the first hearing in his libel claim against Joey Barton (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)
Jeremy Vine arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the first hearing in his libel claim against Joey Barton (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

“I also published posts during the same period in which I referred to Mr Vine having advocated forced vaccination during the Covid 19 pandemic, based upon a video clip of his TV programme. I accept that he did not advocate this policy and that the video clip has been edited to give a misleading impression of what he was in fact saying.

“I then taunted and abused Mr Vine for bringing a legal complaint against me. I have agreed not to make the same allegations again about Mr Vine and I apologise to him for the distress he has suffered.

“To resolve his claims against me in defamation and harassment, I have agreed to pay Mr Vine £75,000 in damages and his legal costs.”

Barton, the former Man City, QPR, and Newcastle midfielder, made astring posts to his 2.5 million followers, including one with an image of Vineand disgraced TV presenter Rolf Harris, together with the comment: “Oh Jeremy Vine. Did you, Rolf-aroo and Schofield go out on a tandem bike ride? You bigbike nonce ya!”

The following day, Barton retweeted a post featuring a picture of Vine cycling which dubbed him a “bike nonce”, and he added his own comment: “Ifyou see this fella by a primary school call 999.”

At the High Court, Vine complained of a “calculated and sustained” social media attack in which he was linked to Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile, andJeffrey Epstein.

“The ongoing attacks by Mr Barton and for which he is responsible are on a very significant scale”, said Gervase de Wilde, representing Vine.

“Mr Vine was branded a ‘nonce’ and a ‘paedo’, and compared to, orassociated with Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Gary Glitter, and Jeffrey Epstein.

“Many of those who republished the paedophile allegation focused,as Mr Barton did, on Mr Vine’s status as a television personality and BBCpresenter, suggesting that this was a factor in the truth of him being a‘nonce’.”

The judge, in her ruling, found that Barton had given the “strongimpression” to his followers that Vine “has a sexual interest in children”.

“While I do not consider that the hypothetical reader, who wouldread the post quickly and move on, would infer a causative link, ie that theclaimant defends paedophiles because he shares the same propensity, thejuxtaposition of the words ‘nonce’ and ‘pedo’ is striking and would reinforcethe impression that the former was used in the sense of ‘paedophile’.

Barton argued to the court that he had been “making fun” of Vine,while using “vulgar abuse”, and insisted that no one would genuinely think hewas calling the TV presenter a paedophile.

He also suggested he would argue that there are multiple meanings for the word ‘nonce’.

In a statement on social media on Tuesday, Vine said he is pursuing Barton for further damages.

“The news of Joey Barton’s apology and commitment to pay damages and costs is not the final outcome of this case”, he wrote.

“After five defamatory tweets, my lawyer offered Barton a chance to settle: pay £75k, plus my costs, and make an apology.

“He ignored that offer and posted more disgusting tweets about me, even publishing my home address to his followers.

“When I then took my case to the High Court, a judge ruled that TEN of the tweets I complained of were defamatory. Having lost, Barton has returned to the offer we made after tweet 5.

“There has therefore been a parallel action on tweets 6-10 and Barton will pay further damages for these. A number of other steps — including statements made in Court by way of apology — are still to be taken, and Barton has agreed to pay my legal costs of all of the claims.”

The row with Vine happened after Barton had made a series of online posts criticising female footballers and pundits.

TV pundit and ex-footballer Eni Aluko is separately suing him after an online attack about her family.