Darren Black

Drag Race UK star Crystal says she is feeling “a mix of emotions” after winning her libel case against Laurence Fox.

Yesterday (29 January), a High Court judge ruled that the right-wing commentator and actor had libelled both Crystal, who is known as Colin Seymour out of drag, and former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake when he falsely branded them “peadophiles” on social media in October 2020. 

He had used the term against the pair after they and actress Nicola Thorp accused him of being racist over his response to Sainsbury’s celebrating Black History Month, which resulted in Fox counter-suing all three of them.

High Court judge Mrs Justice Collins Rice ultimately ruled in favour of Crystal and Blake, while also dismissing Fox’s arguments. 

“Mr Fox’s labelling of Mr Blake and Mr Seymour as paedophiles was, on the evidence, probabilities and facts of this case, seriously harmful, defamatory and baseless,” she said.

“The law affords few defences to defamation of this sort.

“Mr Fox did not attempt to show these allegations were true, and he was not able to bring himself on the facts within the terms of any other defence recognised in law.”

“I didn’t really ever feel like I had the option of giving up”

Speaking to GAY TIMES the day after the ruling, Crystal says that she is hopeful the case “reminds people that we don’t need to sit and take it when people are throwing around baseless slurs.” 

“It’s relief, it’s satisfaction,” she continues. “It’s a small dash of petty schadenfreude. I’m just very, very, very happy.”

Crystal highlights that unsubstantiated accusations of pedophilia are among “the oldest homophobic tropes” used against LGBTQIA+ people, which motivated her to see the lengthy legal battle through to the end. 

“It definitely kept the stakes very high throughout and it meant that I didn’t really ever feel like I had the option of giving up,” she explains. 

“It did feel like I was doing something that needed to be done for a lot of people, not just me.

“That said, I guess I’ve had a public platform prior to this and I’ve had some practice in standing up for myself and making myself understood and, you know, it’s not my first time being an advocate. So in that sense, I was kind of happy to have that weight land on my shoulders because I knew I could bear it.”

“We needed to show that there was zero basis for that allegation and to really clear our names”

Given that she and Blake both have jobs that sometimes involve working with children, Crystal emphasises that it was important for each of them to ensure the world knew Fox’s accusation had no meaning behind it. 

She continues: “It’s one of those words that unless it’s fully squashed, hangs around. It creates a stench and people are nervous that it could be true.

“People don’t want to assume the best when that word has been used against you, so we needed to take it all the way because we needed to show that there was zero basis for that allegation and to really clear our names…I think this goes to show that there are consequences to using that word and, maybe it’s going to be tricky to hold the anonymous Twitter users to account, but if anyone with a verified profile is stupid enough to sling around words like that, then there’s going to be consequences.”

Despite Fox sharing his desire to appeal the ruling, Crystal is now focused on the future more than ever.

“I just can’t wait to get back out on the road up and down the country and showing people a good time and reminding people that it’s not so scary,” she says. “I’m just a man in a dress.”

Damages and costs are due to be awarded at a later date.