Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may recall the Mail On Sunday’s attack on self-employed beautician Danielle Hindley, where the paper had included her in an article which began “Rogue beauticians are carrying out dangerous and illegal procedures which can leave women permanently disfigured, The Mail on Sunday can reveal”.
It also made sure readers knew “Ms Hindley, who has a conviction for a financial crime, said she had two days’ training earlier this year”, which was irrelevant. Those who have unearthed the Mail titles’ business relationships with individuals who have rather more than the odd conviction - private investigators, purveyors of illegally gathered information, bent coppers and the like - may allow themselves a wry smile.
At the time of publication, I concluded “the nastiest thing about [Charlotte] Wace’s article is that the power of the MoS’ megaphone - especially as the name and location of Ms Hindley’s business is spelt out in the article - is highly likely to have a severely adverse effect on trade”. This is indeed what happened. But Danielle Hindley’s business survived.
So did her determination to get more out of the MoS than the correction they offered her - “Since publication of this article we have been asked to confirm that Ms Hindley is a trained beautician who is legally entitled to carry out the plasma treatment described. The general references to ‘cosmetic cowboys’, ‘rogue beauticians’ and ‘illegal procedures’ do not apply to Ms Hindley and we are happy to make that clear”.
Now, even IPSO has decided that the MoS did not go far enough in correcting its article, concluding “The Committee welcomed that the newspaper had offered to publish a correction, making clear that the general terms ‘cosmetic cowboy’, and ‘rogue beautician’ did not apply to the complainant. However, its wording had not made clear that the complainant was not guilty of ‘botching’ treatments, as the article had implied. On balance, there was a breach of Clause 1 (ii)”. And there was more.
“In the online article, the caption to the photograph of the complainant’s former client had claimed that she had received ‘skin lightening’ treatment. The Committee were concerned by this error, which clearly represented a failure not to publish inaccurate information. This typographical error gave rise to the significantly misleading impression that the complainant administers a treatment which lightens a person’s skin. Such a claim required correction, under the terms of Clause 1(ii)”.
And, although IPSO has allowed the MoS to get away with Ms Wace’s use of a hidden camera and the consequent invasion of Ms Hindley’s privacy - worrying, and one for anyone who works from home to note - it has ordered a further correction.
“The Committee therefore considered that the appropriate remedy was the publication of a further correction. This correction should appear on page two of the newspaper, and at the top of the article as it appears online … It should address the further inaccuracies identified by the Committee, and make clear that it has been published following an upheld ruling by IPSO”. Danielle Hindley was right to complain.
It’s only a pity that the complaint was resolved 18 months too late. Must try harder, IPSO.
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