Tracy-Ann Oberman pays out ‘substantial damages’ in libel suit

A university academic sued the actress after she suggested he used a ‘Jew blocklist’ on Twitter


Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman has agreed to pay substantial damages and published an apology to an academic whom she falsely accused of using a "Jew blocklist" on Twitter.  

Ms Oberman suggested last year that Dr Philip Proudfoot was targeting Jewish users of the platform when in fact he was using a Twitter Block Chain, which is a common device used to deter trolls.

The former EastEnders actress, who has agreed not to repeat the allegation, has apologised for the "mistake" and said it was "hurtful."  

In a statement posted on Twitter she told her more than 100,000 followers: “I accept that Dr Proudfoot has at no time had a Jew block list and apologise for stating otherwise. I made a mistake and appreciate that my comments were hurtful. I have therefore deleted my tweet, agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs.”

Dr Proudfoot, who is an anthropologist and Middle East specialist, is a research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

On 4 April 2021, Ms Oberman tweeted in a now-deleted post: "So a man called @PhilipProudfoot of @FreeNorthNow has a Jew blocklist. I've been out of the twitter politics loop for a few months but is this Party continuation Corbyn? Seems like it. And will it end up the same way? Seems like it. Good luck all."

Dr Proudfoot, who is a supporter of Palestinian rights, launched a libel claim against the actress.  Responding to the result, Dr Proudfoot said: “I am a humanitarian researcher. I’ve seen the horrors of war in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. It is for this reason I am a supporter of the struggle for human rights in Palestine. And it is for this reason I am appalled and disgusted by antisemitism, and all forms of prejudice.”

His solicitor, Zillur Rahman, said: “Antisemitism is a serious problem in our society and it is unfortunate that some people like Philip, who show solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom from Israel’s oppression, have been falsely accused of antisemitism, which can have a chilling effect on free speech against injustices and human rights violations.” 

Ms Oberman was recently seen on TV screens on Channel 4’s Celebrity Bake Off and has starred in shows including Ridley Road, It’s a Sin and EastEnders. She is also patron of the charity Children for Peace, which aims to help Israeli and Palestinian children build friendships though arts, education, healthcare and sport.

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