Labour MP Richard Burgon wins £30,000 libel action against the Sun claims his band used Nazi imagery

The case centred on promotional material published by Leeds band Dream Tröll, which the newspaper claimed resembled the font used by the SS


Richard Burgon, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, has won £30,000 in a libel action against the Sun over claims his band adopted Nazi imagery.

The case centred on an April 2017 article headlined “Reich and Roll: Labour’s justice boss ridiculed after he joins a heavy metal band that delights in Nazi symbols”.

The Sun claimed the typeface for the letter “S” on the album's cover was taken from the Nazi’s SS paramilitary organisation.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Dingeman ruled instead that the image was “produced as a form of tribute to or imitation" of the cover of the Black Sabbath album We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘N’ Roll.

He added: “In my judgement the two 'S's in the Dream Tröll image are not 'Nazi symbols'. I make this finding because the two 'S's are not positioned together and, much less importantly but still relevant, the angles of the 'S's are different.”

Mr Burgon, who made a guest appearance on a Dream Tröll track, claimed the Leeds band were “ordinary, decent blokes” who are “fans of Black Sabbath, not neo-Nazis”.  

The Labour MP said he was "delighted" at the news and would use the money to fund a paid justice internship for a young person from Leeds, the city he represents as an MP”.

The Sun said it was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling, saying it would lodge an appeal.

It added: “We fundamentally disagree with the Judge’s conclusions, and furthermore, fear they may act as a brake on the ability of the free press to hold those in power to account and to scrutinise the judgment of those who aspire to the highest offices in the land.

“In light of the ongoing antisemitism controversies which were engulfing the Labour Party at the time of publication, we firmly believe it was in the public interest to assess the Shadow Justice Secretary’s wisdom in being associated with the image.”

During the hearing the newspaper attempted to draw a link between the alleged use of Nazi imagery and Labour’s ongoing antisemitism crisis.

Mr Burgon was repeatedly asked whether he would perform a song with the band in front of the disputed artwork at a concert in areas with large Jewish populations such as “parts of north London” or Tel Aviv.

He repeatedly insisted that he would not appear on a stage that featured Third Reich iconography but said that the artwork at the heart of the dispute was influenced by Black Sabbath.

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