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24 Jan, 2019 13:49

Labour MP suing the Sun newspaper for libel over ‘delights in Nazi symbols’ claim

Labour MP suing the Sun newspaper for libel over ‘delights in Nazi symbols’ claim

Richard Burgon, Labour’s shadow justice secretary is suing the Sun for libel after it published an article claiming he was associating himself with a band that had allegedly used Nazi-influenced fonts on their album artwork.

The MP told a court on Wednesday that the newspaper was in no way justified in linking his decision to make a guest appearance with a band, who had allegedly used Nazi imagery, with claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Burgon insists that the album artwork of ‘Dream Tröll’, the Leeds band he guested with, was influenced by Black Sabbath, the legendary British rock band, and not the German Nazi party.

“I do not accept that it is Nazi iconography. It is a pastiche or spoof of an album by a famous rock band from the 1970s,” he said.

The article at the centre of the libel case was published with the headline: “Reich and Roll: Labour’s justice boss ridiculed after he joins a heavy metal band that delights in Nazi symbols.”

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The Sun’s story, published in April 2017, claimed that the typeface used for the “S” in the band’s social media post entitled “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Tröll” paid homage to Hitler’s SS paramilitary organization, which was an influential component of the Nazi party.

Burgon told the court that he agreed Hitler’s SS logo is a “globally recognised symbol of unparalleled evil,” but that he sees no similarity between the imagery used in Dream Toll’s artwork and the Nazi logo.

“I did not associate with a band that delights in Nazi iconography and would not do so,” Burgon insisted.

The shadow justice secretary launched the libel action against the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid newspaper and its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, after it reported on his guest slot with the heavy metal band.

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Burgon was accused of “using expensive lawyers to shut down references to anti-Semitism in the press” and was probed about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to inadvertently lend support to a graffiti artist on Facebook whose work, it transpired, included anti-Semitic tropes.

He insisted that he was deeply concerned about anti-Semitism within his party and had “never denied there is an issue with this gravest of matters”, but claimed that it was unrelated to the issue at hand.

The trial continues.

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