Andrew Neil threatens to sue Jennifer Arcuri after tweet about Epstein

Businesswoman had made claims about journalist’s inclusion in a contact book owned by Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew Neil says he has launched legal action against Jennifer Arcuri, the US businesswoman and former lover of Boris Johnson, after she made claims about the veteran journalist’s inclusion in a contact book owned by the deceased paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In a public spat that started with a disagreement over the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, Arcuri tagged the former BBC presenter in a now-deleted tweet that read: “Citation for @afneil: Not only is he a paid for pharma puppet but here he is on the pedo elite train. Everyone knows what happened on that plane.” Alongside were the hashtags #itsOver and #ticktock, a picture of Neil arm in arm with a woman, and a screengrab from Epstein’s address book purportedly showing Neil’s name.

Neil wrote in response: “I have clicked to follow you. Please DM your address/contact details so my lawyers can serve legal papers against you for this clear libel and defamation. I’ve instructed the papers to be drawn up now. All those tweeting support for and spreading her tweet will also be served.”

To this, Arcuri responded: “You really are threatened by me @afneil. Thank you for confirming. Now the world sees exactly what you are.”

Neil, who was chairman of GB News until he resigned this summer, replied to Arcuri again, writing: “I will not engage in a public Twitter spat with you, though every subsequent tweet you make just makes it worse. Please just DM your address to me so we can begin the necessary legal action against you. Thank you.”

Many of the hundreds of individuals in Epstein’s address book insist they never had any contact with the deceased financier, whose former partner Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial in New York on sex trafficking charges. Alongside known Epstein associates such as Prince Andrew are the names and contact details of prominent individuals.

In a series of tweets about Epstein, Neil told another Twitter user he had no connection to the deceased man. “I’ve never even met him, communicated with him, never mind visited any of his properties or been on his planes, cars, buses, helicopters, ponies,” he tweeted. “Now what is it you don’t understand about piss off. And apologise before you do, please, piss off.”

Arcuri, who has increasingly used her online presence to criticise Covid-19 vaccines while continuing to make claims about her affair with Boris Johnson, is now based in the US – which may offer her some protection from the UK’s tougher libel laws.

Last month she shared extracts of her diary with the Observer, detailing her affair with the future prime minister and has also offered to assist with a Greater London assembly investigation into Johnson’s conduct.

In another tweet late on Monday night, Neil wrote that he had taken the action “not just to hold Arcuri, who I’ve never met and have no interest in, to account but, more important, to establish that the twitterati can’t just promulgate evil lies without consequences. If you think anonymity will protect you, you’re in for a big surprise.”

One of the biggest challenges in taking legal action against anonymous Twitter users is finding out their contact details. Under British law, it is possible to ask a court to make a Norwich Pharmacal order – named after the 1970s case that established the principle – and ask sites such as Twitter to hand over any information they may hold on an account, such as the email used to register it and other identifying markers.


Jedidajah Otte and Jim Waterson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Andrew Neil launches libel claim against Jennifer Arcuri after Epstein tweet
Boris Johnson’s former lover made claims about journalist’s inclusion in a contact book owned by Jeffrey Epstein

Jim Waterson Media editor

17, Feb, 2022 @5:55 PM

Article image
Twitter hides Donald Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence'
Warning on ‘when looting starts, shooting starts’ post risks further escalation of row between firm and president

Alex Hern UK technology editor

29, May, 2020 @4:57 PM

Article image
Elton John quits Twitter over change that ‘allows misinformation to flourish’
Musician’s comments come after Elon Musk said he would grant ‘general amnesty’ for suspended accounts

Tobi Thomas

09, Dec, 2022 @3:27 PM

Article image
Twitter axes locked or suspended accounts from follower counts
Some of most popular users appear to lose millions of followers after crackdown

Alex Hern

13, Jul, 2018 @3:20 PM

Article image
Tour de force, say fans as Star Wars franchise stirs after 10 years
As the most anticipated film of the year begins its global rollout, fans and industry unite in praise of The Force Awakens

Andrew Pulver

16, Dec, 2015 @1:34 PM

Article image
Twitter vows to act more swiftly after banning Leslie Jones abuser
Twitter bars Milo Yiannopoulos for good after Jones quit the network following tweets that left her in ‘personal hell’

Esther Addley

20, Jul, 2016 @6:06 PM

Article image
Trump's unhinged tweets built the brand that made him president | Afua Hirsch
Trump has been using Twitter in a legal and diplomatic vacuum – the consequences of which are beginning to catch up with him

Afua Hirsch

12, Jun, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
Russia used hundreds of fake accounts to tweet about Brexit, data shows
Researchers discover that accounts run from troll farm in St Petersburg tried to sow discord between Britons

Robert Booth, Matthew Weaver, Alex Hern , Stacee Smith and Shaun Walker in Moscow

14, Nov, 2017 @8:52 PM

Article image
Twitter is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, study finds
People are more likely to give in to urge to tweet or check email than other cravings, say US researchers

James Meikle

03, Feb, 2012 @10:37 AM

Article image
Elon Musk claims he has acquired Twitter ‘to help humanity’
Tweet comes as advertisers fear one of his first moves as chief will be to restore Donald Trump’s account

Alex Hern UK technology editor

27, Oct, 2022 @3:46 PM