London, February 23 : A London-based news agency has apologised to Hollywood star Will Smith for falsely accusing him of calling German dictator Adolf Hitler "a good person", and agreed to pay damages for the same.
While representing him in the High Court in London, Smith's solicitor Rachel Atkins contended that the allegations that WENN levelled against her client in an article in December proved "deeply distressing" for her client, and caused "acute embarrassment" to him.
She said that Smith, who was not in court, was "a highly-respected actor of international repute and a man of complete integrity," adding that the 'I Am Legend' star believed Hitler to be "a vile and heinous man".
"The article alleged that the claimant had declared in an interview that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was a good person," the BBC quoted her as saying.
"The allegation is false and without any foundation. It wholly misrepresents the claimant's actual words, given in an interview to the Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper and website," she added.
Stressing that the fact that the article had been picked up by the world's media, Rachel said that "the libel remains at large".
"Whilst the defendant retracted the article and circulated a correction and apology to the recipients of the original article, the correction and apology has not received any media attention," she said.
John Melville-Smith, solicitor for WENN, said that the news agency had agreed to pay undisclosed damages as well as Smith's legal costs.
"Through me the defendant offers its apologies to the claimant for any distress and embarrassment caused by this article," the solicitor said.
"The defendant accepts that the allegations concerning the claimant were misleading and published in error," he added.
Atkins said that Smith thought that because of the public apology, "his reputation has been entirely vindicated", and therefore he "would not proceed any further in his action".