British lord plans to sue Twitter users over child abuse allegations
A British lord is considering suing those who named him in connection with false allegations of child abuse.
On Nov. 2, BBC’s Newsnight program broadcast an incorrect accusation of pedophilia regarding a senior Conservative leader. While the news organization did not put the allegations to Lord McAlpine, several Twitter users suggested that he was the subject.
According to the Telegraph, McAlpine’s legal team has advised he has a solid case to seek damages from the BBC, and his legal advisors were reportedly studying tweets that referenced McAlpine to draw up a list of potential targets for legal action.
Sally Bercow, wife of U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, is among those who McAlpine may sue. On Nov. 4, she tweeted the following message:
She later apologized for the tweet: “Final on McAlpine: am VERY sorry for inadvertently fanning flames. But I tweet as me, forgetting that to some of u I am Mrs bloody Speaker.” As of Monday morning, she insisted she had not been contacted by McAlpine’s lawyers.
Bercow was one of thousands of people to tweet McAlpine’s name over the last month. A Topsy search indicates more than 2,800 mentions of “Lord McAlpine” over the last 30 days.
The fallout from the Newsnight report led to the esignation of BBC’s director general, George Entwistle.
McAlpine’s threat to sue Twitter users follows on from a report last week of the mayor of Ankara, Turkey, suing 600 Twitter followers after they criticized him.
Photo of Sally Bercow via sallybercowbigb2011/YouTube