Former EastEnders actress pays damages after accusing academic of ‘Jew blocklist’

Former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman pays damages after accusing Univeristy of Sussex academic of ‘Jew blocklist’
Former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman pays damages after accusing Univeristy of Sussex academic of ‘Jew blocklist’

A FORMER EastEnders actress has apologised and agreed to pay “substantial damages” after accusing an academic of having “a Jew blocklist”.

Tracy-Ann Oberman accused Dr Philip Proudfoot, a research fellow at the institute for development studies at the University of Sussex, of using an online tool which blocks Jews from interacting with him.

In a now-deleted post, Oberman wrote: “So a man called Philip Proudfoot of Free North Now has a Jew blocklist. I’ve been out of the Twitter politics loop for a few months but is this Party continuation Corbyn? Seems like it. And will it end up the same way? Seems like it. Good luck all.”

Oberman, who recently appeared on The Great Celebrity Bake Off, said she appreciated that her comments were “hurtful”.

The Argus: Former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman
The Argus: Former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman

Former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman

In a statement shared on Twitter after the settlement was reached, Oberman wrote: “On April 4, 2021, I tweeted that Dr Philip Proudfoot ‘has a Jew blocklist’.

“The following day Dr Proudfoot explained that this was wrong and that he had used ‘a tool to mass block an account I followed that was involved in targeted trolling, which also blocks followers’.

“He has since assured me that this was an account which he believed was trolling and harassing him and he had not deliberately blocked Jewish accounts.

“I accept that Dr Proudfoot had at no time had a Jew blocklist and apologise for stating otherwise.

“I made a mistake and appreciate that my comments were hurtful. I have therefore deleted my tweet, agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs.”

Dr Proudfoot, an anthropologist, Middle East specialist and founder of the Northern Independence Party, launched a libel claim against Oberman, claiming her allegation caused serious harm to his reputation, particularly given his status as a prominent academic, according to his solicitors.

Dr Proudfoot said in a statement: “When I founded the Northern Independence Party, I expected public scrutiny. Harmful defamation, however, is unacceptable.

“Outside of my political life I am a humanitarian researcher. I’ve seen the horrors of war in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. It is for this reason I am a supporter of the struggle for human rights in Palestine. And it is for this reason I am appalled and disgusted by anti-semitism, and all forms of prejudice.

“But it is harmful to allow the fear of false accusations to prevent us from speaking out against apartheid in Israel. Speaking out against injustice is also a fundamental political right.

“We must defend our rights, defend Palestinians, and never allow defamation to scare away solidarity.”

His lawyer Zillur Rahman, of Rahman Lowe solicitors, said: “I am delighted for Philip, it really is a resounding victory.

“Anti-semitism is a serious problem in our society, and it is unfortunate that some people, like Philip, who show solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom from Israel’s oppression, have been falsely accused of antisemitism, which can have a chilling effect on free speech against injustices and human rights violations.”