Sunday Telegraph apologises to Daniel Johns over brothel story
In the front-page exclusive, written by reporter Amy Harris, the tabloid claimed the musician was a regular at Sydney-based brothel The Kastle.
The article stated that Johns was “swaggering” out of the notorious club after a 12-hour session.
Harris’ unnamed sources also said the rocker would spend up to 18-hour days at the venue, which describes itself as a “BDSM dungeon”.
Johns denied all the allegations and released a statement the following month, saying “the article was simply untrue” and that Harris did not make contact before publishing.
The venue’s owner, who goes by the name Mistress Scarlett, also denied the story.
In today’s apology, published by the Tele, the paper agreed Harris’ reporting was bogus.
“The story was wrong,” said the paper. “Mr Johns was not leaving the brothel and The Sunday Telegraph accepts he has never been there at any other time.”
The offending article was published on August 11, 2019.
Johns’ real movements that day were much less scandalous, according to the retraction. He was actually visiting a friend who lived in the vicinity.
“We retract the story and we wish to extend a genuine and public apology to Mr Johns and his family for the error and the harm caused.”
The apology also acknowledged Johns as a highly decorated ARIA and APRA award winner that shows no signs of slowing down after co-writing the Flume and Tove Lo hit, ‘Say It’.
Johns commenced defamation proceedings last September against the News Corp-owned masthead, also naming Harris and editor Mick Carroll.
“I have now issued legal proceedings in order to publicly correct the facts and vindicate my reputation,” he wrote at the time.
“This false reporting has been very hurtful, humiliating, and damaging to me and my family.”
A writ filed to the Supreme Court of Victoria said the article portrayed Johns as a “sexual pervert”, and that his career was suffering as a result.
Johns has since posted the apology on social media with the caption: “Now back to the music.”