Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ryanair Defamation Verdict is a Stretch?

Via the Irish Times:
FORMER MISS World Rosanna Davison smiled broadly yesterday after a High Court jury awarded her €80,000 damages against Ryanair after finding a press release posted on the airline’s website defamed her.
The 27-year-old model claimed the release wrongly meant she was racist, elitist and jealous of not being included in a Ryanair charity calendar featuring members of the airline’s international cabin crew wearing bikinis and under headings including Miss Cockpit and Miss Fuel Pump.

Ryanair's offending statement: [Davison's] comments ... “bordered on racism and demonstrated an elitist attitude against Ryanair’s international cabin crew”.

I am not a fan of Ryanair but I find it hard to believe that this constitutes defamation. Whatever happened to free speech?