News of the World drags PinkNews into Cole claim

Gay news website has been sucked into the legal battle between footballer Ashley Cole and tabloid newspapers The Sun and The News of the World.

The website was warned today by the newspapers’ solicitors, Farrer & Co, that it may be named as a third-party defendant in the libel and breach of privacy proceedings brought by Cole.

Cole’s lawyer Graham Shear of Teacher Stern Selby filed a claim on the footballer’s behalf over articles in the papers referring to a “gay sex orgy” in which two unnamed Premiership players were alleged to have taken part.

Following the publication of the articles, PinkNews published a photograph depicting Cole and radio DJ Masterstepz, which it said was the unedited version of a heavily-pixellated picture printed by The News of the World.

PinkNews editor Benjamin Cohen said that the website had never claimed that Cole or Masterstepz were gay, adding that proceedings had not yet been launched by the newspapers’ owner News Group.

West End firm Stock Fraser Cukier is representing PinkNews.