Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The People pays damages over drunken proposal 'exclusive'

On 6 November 2011, the People published this 'exclusive':

Charlotte Church has proposed to her boyfriend Jonathan Powell during a boozy pub karaoke night.

The star belted out The Ronettes’ Be My Baby then slumped in a chair next to her man and gave him a huge kiss. She told him: “That was for you because I want you to be my baby. Will you marry me?”

He replied: “Yes but I don’t want to be known as Mr Church.”

The pair, both 25, then ordered bottles of champagne “one each” and celebrated into the early hours of last Saturday morning at the pub, the Robin Hood in Cardiff.

A friend said: “Jonathan was thrilled and Charlotte was very happy. She was singing I’m Getting ­Married in the Morning as we helped her to the taxi afterwards.”

Church immediately issued a statement, pointing out the story was rubbish:

"This story is a complete fabrication. I have not proposed to my boyfriend, drunkenly or otherwise. It is embarrassing for me (and him) for our families and friends to read that I have.

I was not in the pub they mention on the night they allege this happened. I haven't been there for 5 months. At the time that I was apparently drunkenly proposing I was in fact performing in a completely different town with a large public audience.

There is literally not one shred of truth in this story, and it is still alarming to me that lies of this scale can be printed. This is not journalism. It's a perfect example of why this out of control tabloid industry needs regulation immediately."

Today, the paper has agreed to pay substantial damages and legal fees, has apologised and agreed not to repeat the accusations. Lawyers for the People said in court that it:

accepts that the story was completely untrue and should not have been published. It has previously apologised in the newspaper and online for publishing the allegation, which it accepted was incorrect after Charlotte first complained.

There's no explanation has to how the People came to publish the story and all those fictional quotes. It is also worth noting that the Mail and Sun were quick to repeat the People's claims without doing any fact-checking of their own.

The People had already published one apology - three weeks after the original story appeared and, coincidentally, one day before Church gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. The Inquiry was told that apology was a 'unilateral one' and 'just not good enough'.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing - keep up the good work exposing these stories; it depresses me how dreadful and (even worse) unapologetic these rags are. They're not just biased or fitting stories to their agenda - they're downright liars.


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