Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann is suing Northern Irish songwriter Van Morrison for defamation over his “bizarre and irresponsible” COVID-19 criticisms, the Associated Press reports.
Morrison has been
ruining his legacy chafing at pandemic restrictions ever since they began, referring to socially-distanced concerts as “pseudo-science” and even releasing an anti-lockdown song series. He publicly criticized Swann on at least three occasions, calling him “a fraud” and “very dangerous.”
Swann first fought back in an op-ed in Rolling Stone, writing that Morrison’s “words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines.”
Now, he’s bringing the battle to the courts. According to his lawyer Paul Tweed, proceedings “are at an advanced stage with an anticipated hearing date early in 2022.”
Morrison’s lawyer Joe Rice said his client will contest the claim. The songwriter plans to argue “that the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment.”
Earlier this year, Morrison complained about the chilly reception to his anti-lockdown songs, blaming the negative reaction on hostility towards freedom of speech, and ignoring the simpler explanation, which is that the songs are not only misguided, but very boring.