After the Sun’s disgraced and deeply unpleasant former editor Kelvin McFilth had once more swerved across the racism line and compared Everton footballer Ross Barkley - who has a Nigerian grandfather - to a gorilla, the previously unthinkable happened. Kel was suspended from column-writing duty, and today the paper has gone further: the Murdoch goons have apologised. But they are not out of the woods yet.
Tony Gallagher - needs to come clean
Under the heading “Ross Barkley - An Apology”, the Sun tells “On April 14 we published a piece in the Kelvin MacKenzie column about footballer Ross Barkley which made unfavourable comparisons between Mr Barkley and a gorilla … At the time of publication, the paper was unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended”.
There was more: “As soon as his background was drawn to our attention, the article was removed from online … We have been contacted by lawyers on behalf of Ross Barkley, who has made a formal complaint about the piece … The Sun has apologised for the offence caused by the piece … We would like to take this opportunity to apologise personally to Ross Barkley” [my emphasis].
How might “his background” have been drawn to their attention? Perhaps the assembled Murdoch idiocy bothered to read their own paper for once: still available online is an article from May 2014 about England’s World Cup squad, titled “Lion cubs … Boss pins World Cup hopes on youth”, where we can read all about Ross Barkley.
The article does show the customary Sun ignorance of anything to do with Merseyside - some things never change - as it gushes “RISING star Ross, 20, may be a key player for Everton but his girlfriend Faye Ayers was actually crowned Miss Liverpool in 2012”, suggesting Liverpool and Everton are two distinct places. Everton, as any fule kno, is a district of Liverpool. And then comes the incriminating part.
“As a junior, Ross was so keen to play for his boyhood heroes that he used to make a two-hour round-trip, taking four buses, to get to training sessions … He also had the option to play for Nigeria through a grandfather, but picked the Three Lions and made his full England debut last September against Moldova” [my emphasis].
It’s entirely possible that claiming ignorance of Barkley’s heritage is part of the Sun’s strategy for fending off the inevitable IPSO investigation: perhaps the Murdoch goons are hoping this will enable them to persuade our sham press regulator to wipe their arses. But if IPSO do that, they will be subjected to even more public ridicule than usual.
In any case, this is an open and shut case of the Sun lying to save what little remains of its reputation. The real scandal is that, as with the fateful Hillsborough smear, no-one within the paper’s editorial staff was prepared to stand up to Kelvin McFilth and spike his column.
The Sun has lied again. And anyone who wants to know, knows they have lied. This will not go away until the paper dispenses with the services of Kelvin McFilth. End of story.