After five months of legal wrangling, Zaha Hadid has settled her defamation lawsuit against the New York Review of Books, and critic Martin Filler. Over the summer, the London-based starchitect filed a libel suit claiming that the scholarly New York publication and its architecture critic had exposed her to "public ridicule or contempt" after a book review was published in June in which Hadid was taken to task for what Filler characterized as a callous disregard for human life. The foundation of Hadid's lawsuit was Filler's damning but entirely erroneous claim that an "estimated one thousand laborers" working on the Al Wakrah stadium, the future site of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, had "perished while constructing her project thus far."
In fact, construction had not even started on the Al Wakrah stadium. After the lawsuit was brought, Filler quickly retracted his statements, saying: "There have been no worker deaths on the Al Wakrah project and Ms. Hadid's comments about Qatar that l quoted in the review had nothing to do with the Al Wakrah site or any of her projects."
Despite the apology, Hadid's lawyers spent several months attempting to prove that the esteemed publication and Filler had maliciously "injured her good name and reputation" through what they claimed was "a personal attack disguised as a book review." However, it is notoriously difficult for public figures like Hadid to prove that untrue statements were made with "malice" and after extensive settlement negotiations, the architect finally withdrew her complaint.
"Ms Hadid is pleased to have put to rest this dispute, and to have resolved it in a way that demonstrates her commitment to safe and fair working conditions at construction sites around the world," said Gonzalo Zeballos, one of the architect's attorneys.
Hadid has announced that she will donate the settlement money to a charity that "protects and champions labor rights."
· Zaha Hadid settles book review lawsuit and donates money to labour rights charity [Dezeen]
· Here's What You Need to Know About Zaha Hadid Suing a Critic [Curbed National]
· All Zaha Hadid coverage [Curbed National]
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