Will Smith wins damages over Hitler claim

Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:43pm EST
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By Andrew Hough

LONDON (Reuters) - Will Smith won an apology and undisclosed damages in a London court on Friday over a false claim that he had described World War Two Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as a "good person."

The Oscar-nominated star, one of the world's most popular and highly paid actors, was left deeply distressed and acutely embarrassed over the wrong story published by an entertainment newswire service, the High Court heard.

Smith's comments, originally published in the Scottish Daily Record newspaper, were then "wholly misrepresented" by the London-based World Entertainment News Network (WENN), Judge David Eady was told.

The agency, which says on its website that it provides information to more than 1,000 media outlets in 25 countries, picked up the interview and then wrongly published worldwide a story headlined "Smith: Hitler was a good person."

"The article alleged (Smith) had declared in an interview that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was a good person," Smith's lawyer Rachel Atkins told the court.

"It wholly misrepresents (his) actual words."

She said Smith, also a Grammy-winning rapper who was not in court, actually thought Hitler was "vile and heinous."

"The allegations that he could think otherwise is deeply distressing...and has caused him acute embarrassment," she said.   Continued...

<p>Actor Will Smith flashes a victory sign as he arrives on the red carpet to the premiere of the film "I Am Legend" in Berlin, January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>