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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 14:42 GMT
Morrissey brands NME 'unreliable'
Morrissey denies his comments were inflammatory
Ex-Smiths star Morrissey has branded NME "devious, truculent and unreliable" after the music magazine printed an article about his immigration views.

In a statement on a fan website, he said: "I believe they have deliberately tried to characterise me as a racist."

The singer is suing the publication after it refused to apologise for focusing on his comments.

A NME spokesman said it took the matter "extremely seriously" and editors were in discussions with their legal team.

Morrissey was described as "devious, truculent and unreliable" in 1998 by a High Court judge, after a legal battle with bandmates over royalties.

In response to the NME article, he said: "I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind and will not let this pass without being absolutely clear and emphatic with regard to what my position is.

"Racism is beyond common sense and I believe it has no place in our society."

'Truly cowardly'

He said NME was a magazine "with no insides" and was playing "the editorial naughtiness game".

The star accused the writer, Tim Jonze, of "talking behind his hands in an endless fidget" during the interview.

He added: "Tim accepted every answer I gave him with a schoolgirl giggle, and repeatedly asked me if I was shocked at how little he actually knew about music."

The Rome-based singer was asked during the interview if he would ever consider moving back to the UK.

"Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears," he allegedly said.

Writing on the Guardian's Comment is Free website, however, Mr Jonze described the singer's actions as "truly cowardly".

He added: "How can Morrissey possibly claim a stitch-up when the interview is printed in Q&A form, his quotes are recorded on tape and he wasn't even asked about immigration in the first place?"

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