Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Rolling back the lies

On 29 October, The Sun ran a story with the headline Asda till snub for Hope for Heroes mum. It claimed:

Mum-of-three Beth Hoyle claims an Asda till worker refused to serve her because she was wearing a wristband backing injured troops.

Beth says the checkout lad told her the band for Help for Heroes - aided by The Sun - meant she supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And when she complained to a supervisor, he BACKED the Asian youth, saying he was entitled to his view.

Beth, 40, who has two brothers in the services, said the checkout worker told her he didn't want to serve her because of "what she was wearing."

Asda responded by apologising to the mother (based on the allegations) and launched an investigation.

Two weeks later, Asda issued the following statement:

We’ve come to the end of our investigation at Asda Rochdale and can’t find any truth in the allegation that one of our colleagues refused to serve a customer for wearing a Help for Heroes wristband.

Our regional operations manager Paul Rowland said: “We’ve completed our investigation and it’s clear this exchange never happened. We’ve interviewed over 400 colleagues in the store, examined over three days worth of CCTV footage and talked to other customers and we can find absolutely no evidence that a colleague said what was alleged.

Of course, they would say that, wouldn't they? But as the spokesman quoted in the Sun article says Asda sell the Help for Heroes wristbands and badges in store, the story never made much sense.

They continued:

“We are disappointed and angry that right-wing groups are using this mythical incident to whip up racial hatred,” said Paul. “Thankfully the people of Rochdale will see straight through that. We remain big supporters of the work our troops do serving our country.”

Some of the comments on the ASDA statement suggest the rumour started on right-wing Facebook groups. If you Google 'Beth Hoyle and Asda' the first result is the 'Exposing Islam' blog. The National Front comes up a bit later. It's very hard to find the results of the Asda investigation.

But using mythical incidents to whip up hatred? Surely the Sun wouldn't do such a thing?

Would they?

(hat-tip to Paul Bryant)

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