Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Wiki
Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is suing Dr. Christian Jessen for defamation.
The politician claims the TV star made an “attack” on her marriage in December 2020.
Embarrassing Bodies star Jessen tweeted about rumours that Foster was having an extra-marital affair on 23 December 2020 – a post that remained online until 7 January 2021.
Speaking in Belfast’s High Court, Foster said: “It was very humiliating to see that the relationship that’s most important to me had been trashed if you like and put out there in the public domain in that fashion.”
She added [as per The Guardian]: “One of the things that gives me stability is my home relationship – it was almost as if this cut to the very core of my life.”
Jessen’s post was retweeted more than 500 times.
Foster, the representative for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, called the tweet “an attack on me personally and my marriage, meant to destabilise me at a very critical time.”
Judgment has been reserved in the case.
According to the BBC, 13 email and letter approachs were made to Jessen – who had no representation in court at yesterday’s court session – but went “unanswered”.
The outlet also reports that Jessen’s tweet referred to Foster as “the sanctity of marriage preaching woman”, referencing the DUP’s opposition to marriage equality, adding: “It always comes back to bite them on the arse in the end.”
Foster reportedly told the court: “I do get distressed when people call me a homophobe because that’s something I am not. I have many friends who are homosexual, they know my views and in any event, same-sex marriage is now the law in Northern Ireland and has to be upheld. I have never in my own utterances said anything in relation with people who are homosexual and that’s why I do get upset when people call me a homophobe.”
On 7 January Jessen eventually responded with a “pithy email” and removed the tweet, says Foster’s barrister David Ringland QC.
Ringland adds that there has been “no correction, retraction or apology” from Jessen.
The 44-year-old, who has 311k Twitter followers, is known for TV shows like Supersize vs Superskinny and Dr Christian Will See You Now.
Attitude has approached Arlene Foster and Christian Jessen for comment.