Friday, 7 May 2010

Round-up of apologies and retractions

The News of the World have paid out a five-figure sum in damages to Sheryl Gascoigne after running an article under the charming headline 'You lying bitch'.

Oh, the irony.

Press Gazette reports that the article from 18 October:

suggested she had lied by falsely claiming that her former husband had forced himself on her sexually and that she suffered repeated acts of violence at his hands...

The defendant, News Group Newspapers, 'now accepts that each of these allegations was completely untrue.'

Meanwhile, the PCC has only just announced a clarification published by the Mail on 15 April:

Mr Michael Fawcett complained to the Press Complaints Commission through Kingsley Napley solicitors of London that an article was inaccurate when it stated that he had 'resigned from royal service after it had emerged he had taken 20% of the proceeds of unwanted royal gifts'.

The Mail didn't apologise, but did print this clarification:

An article (14 November 2009) referred to Michael Fawcett, the former valet of the Prince of Wales, resigning after it emerged he had received 20 per cent of the proceeds of sales of royal gifts. In fact, a report in 2003 found no evidence that Mr Fawcett sold royal gifts without authorisation or took commission on sales. We are happy to make this clear.

Another complaint against the Mail comes from Sophie Dahl, whose solicitors have filed a High Court writ over an article by Liz Jones. Dahl joins the queue behind Cherie Blair, who started legal action against the Mail in March.

It is noticeable that both Dahl and Blair felt the paper did not respond to their complaints adequately. This is hardly surprising: when Littlejohn wrongly claimed Eastern Europeans committed most robberies in Britain, the Mail took six weeks to respond to a letter of complaint.

A quicker response was seen by the Ludlow Journal last week, which recalled all undelivered copies of the free newspaper after a picture caption went wrong:

a front-page picture story about a belltower captain called Tony Fuller who had organised a training event for young would-be bellringers.

Unfortunately the picture caption rendered the name 'Tony Fuller' as 'Tiny Fukker.'



  1. Seriously, they published an article headed "You lying bitch" about a victim of domestic violence and marital rape? Blimey.

    Because obviously, if that lovable rogue Gazza said he never did it, then as far as the NOTW is concerned, he never.

  2. i read about the star ruling in the guardian and i swear i nearly cried.
    it was just unbelievable. to call a woman who has been raped and a victim of DV a lying bitch in a newspaper. no wonder so many people persistently believe in rape myths, or think women provoke sexual violence. it's disgusting.


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