The day after it emerged that Katie Hopkins would no longer be writing her controversial MailOnline column, the news website has revealed it paid “substantial damages” to a school teacher libelled in one of her articles.
In an article published in February slamming “liberal teachers bullying and brain-washing children”, Hopkins falsely accused Jacqueline Teale of taking her class of 12-year-olds to an anti-Trump protest outside Westminster.
In fact, history teacher Teale had actually taken a banner made by some of her pupils, which was embellished with a Martin Luther King quote, to the rally against the President.
In a blog for the Guardian, Teale said the column had left her vulnerable to “personal attacks” online, with Twitter trolls calling for her resignation and accusing her of “indoctrinating” children.
″‘Someone’, they said, would be in contact with me about this,” she wrote.
“They began circulating links to the Department for Education (DfE) and encouraged each other to register complaints with them to inform them of my ‘illegal’ activities.”
In an apology issued by MailOnline this morning, the outlet said it was “happy to make clear that the statement was wrong”.
“We apologise to Ms Teale for this error and have agreed to pay Ms Teale substantial damages and legal costs.”
The apology comes less than 24 hours after it was revealed that Hopkins would no longer be writing for the MailOnline, with a spokesperson for the website claiming her contract was not renewed “mutual consent”.
The outlet has yet to respond to HuffPost UK’s requests for comment on whether Hopkins’ departure was linked to the case.
Her decision to leave could mark the end of her turbulent and controversial career as a columnist.
In December 2016, MailOnline was forced to pay £150,000 in damages after Hopkins wrote a string of mistruths and defamatory claims about a British Muslim family barred from travelling to the United States.
Meanwhile, as a writer for The Sun, the 42-year-old sparked more than 100 complaints to press watchdog IPSO when she penned a piece describing migrants as “cockroaches” and insisting boats making their way from Africa should be turned back with force.
Hopkins’ departure from MailOnline also comes just months after she lost her radio show on LBC when she was accused of making comments that could be interpreted as calls for ethnic cleansing.
In the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, she tweeted: “22 dead – number rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution. #Machester.”
The former Apprentice contestant has yet to comment on the loss of her MailOnline column.
In a tweet this morning, Hopkins said she was “off to get her arm sewn back into my shoulder”.
“Rebuilding the Hopkins – Stage 1,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Southend News Network has raised almost £17,000 for food bank charity The Trussell Trust as part of a spoof fundraising effort for Hopkins after yesterday’s news.
“On 27th November 2017, it was announced that Katie Hopkins had left her role at the Daily Mail by ‘mutual consent’ (ahem),” the joke account reads.
“This disgraceful decision is going to cause her severe financial hardship, and so we want to raise £100,000 to give her a real boost in her darkest hour.
“She doesn’t strike us as the Lidl type, so please give all you can.”
The fundraising page adds: ”LEGAL BIT: We’re actually going to give the money to The Trussell Trust – a FANTASTIC cause who help to provide food banks all over the UK. Because irony…”
One person who had donated commented: “So pleased that the loss of Katie Hopkins’ job has not been in vain.
“Here’s hoping that everyone at the Trust has a wonderful Christmas, thanks, in no small part, to Katie Hopkins.”