Vegas acts over 'assault' claim

Johnny calls in the lawyers

Johnny Vegas has launched legal action against The Guardian for a story which claimed he sexually assaulted an audience member on stage.

Chortle understands that the comic has instructed leading libel lawyers Schillings to act on his behalf over an article printed on May 1 entitled: ‘Since when is sexual assault funny?’

The story claimed Vegas had ‘gratuitously groped’ a young woman on stage at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, and accused him of being ‘a powerful, famous man on a stage seedily touching up a young woman’.

The paper’s allegations were widely repeated over the internet.

The original article has now been removed from the Guardian’s website, along with a follow-up opinion piece by comic Jackie Clune, also condemning Vegas, which appeared in this Sunday’s Observer.

Clune, who was not at the gig, began her article: ‘Stand-up comedy, like rape, is mostly about power’ and claimed the show ‘sounds like any night at an ordinary brothel - a fat, sweaty bloke getting his jollies with a captive young woman way out of his league. Except it was he, and not she, going home with a fistful of cash.’

A spokesman for Guardian News and Media said: ‘I can confirm that we have received a complaint from solicitors acting for Johnny Vegas about the two articles and we are currently investigating it.’

Schillings – whose recent clients include David Walliams, Nicolas Cage, Lisa Marie Presley and Marco Pierre White – did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Published: 9 May 2008

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