Monday, 12 December 2011

Mail apologises to the Mayor of Gila Bend

In November, several newspapers reported comments from Ron Henry, the Mayor of Gila Bend, Arizona who had spoken about Prince Harry's imminent arrival at a nearby airbase for a helicopter training course.

The Sun and the Mail quoted Henry saying:

"There are probably some fathers here in Gila Bend who would go to extremes to protect their daughters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we have some very pretty girls here. Some of the dads won't take too kindly to a Prince fornicating the night away and drinking into the small hours. It is a very quiet town with a lot of good Christian people. This isn't a party town." 

Soon after, Henry issued a statement, accusing the Mail of 'a rogue and fabricated story':

“On behalf of the Town of Gila Bend, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Prince Harry and his fellow pilots as they conduct training at the Barry Goldwater Air Force Base...

I am deeply saddened that comments written by the Daily Mail were not only taken out of context but also, total fabrications. In fact, the negative comments were the words of the reporter, who chose to sensationalize and fabricate a story, rather than report the truth. I would never make such outlandish comments. We have tremendous respect and adoration for Prince Harry and the Royal Family. We are excited, proud and honored to have him in our community, and we would like extend every courtesy to make his stay as comfortable as possible.”

Yesterday, the Mail published the following clarification:

In an article of 8 November we carried in good faith a news agency report that said Mayor of Gila Bend, Ron Henry, had warned Prince Harry not to ‘fornicate the night away’ whilst on an army posting to the Arizona town.

We would like to make clear that Mr Henry did not make this statement and apologise to him for this error.

The Sun's article still carries the 'fornicate' line, however. It also claims:

options in Gila Bend are somewhat more limited — the town boasts just one bar and no hard liquor licence. 

According to International Business Times:

Several British tabloid reports claimed that the town boasts just one bar, one restaurant, and one hotel (themed to look like a space rocket). These reports are simply not true.

Gila Bend boasts five hotels, an assortment of restaurants and bars and is an epicenter for renewable energy, particularly solar.

A representative for the town of Gila Bend laughed hysterically when she heard the tabloid descriptions of her town, but said Tuesday morning that they are "no longer commenting on the incident."

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