There comes a time when it is better to say sorry, to admit wrongdoing, to concede that it is not always possible to emerge victorious from every deliberately engineered Twitter confrontation. Those who fail to heed that advice inevitably end up bitter, and broke. And that is where this cautionary tale ends, when one foolish act, combined with an inability to apply a little common sense, ended in financial humiliation.
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Katie Hopkins, pro-am motormouth of no discernible talent, needs no introduction. Nor does her use of social media to attack those with whom she has chosen to disagree. Nor does the fact that she occasionally gets it wrong, then fails to say sorry. So it was no surprise when she went after writer and campaigner Jack Monroe, but had got it wrong. It was no surprise when she declined to withdraw and apologise.
So began a legal action which Ms Hopkins gave every appearance of not taking seriously, even when she lost it. The costs by that time were significant. She wanted to appeal. That also failed. That also added to the cost burden. By this point she was facing demands for hundreds of thousands of pounds. And had to take it seriously.
Exactly how serious the matter had become was revealed yesterday by Mx Monroe, who revealed “I can confirm today that following that landmark libel case, Katie Hopkins has entered into an IVA to avoid bankruptcy. I knew for a while but could not say anything for legal reasons … I have been paid in full, but many of her creditors, including my lawyer, will not be paid what they are owed. For the want of an apology, a house, a job, a column, a radio show, and now financial solvency, were lost. It's all very sad, actually”.
Here on Zelo Street, Ms Hopkins’ IVA was also known about, but as Mx Monroe notes, legal reasons and all that. Her parlous financial situation was why Ms Hopkins’ house had to be sold. And there she now sits on the Insolvency Register: Katie Olivia Hopkins. That is why she is desperately seeking financial support from wherever she can get it.
What is an IVA? Wikipedia has a reasonable summary. “In England and Wales, an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a formal alternative for individuals wishing to avoid bankruptcy … [it] constitutes a formal repayment proposal presented to a debtor's creditors via an insolvency practitioner. Usually … the IVA comprises only the claims of unsecured creditors, leaving the rights of secured creditors largely unchanged. Insolvency practitioners charge initial and ongoing fees that are in addition to the debt”.
So Ms Hopkins faces yet more fees, and the IVA is likely to go on for a number of years. Also, as Wikipedia points out, “If an IVA fails because an individual can not keep up with the repayments (or agree new terms with the trustee and creditors), then bankruptcy becomes a real possibility”. She isn’t out of the woods yet.
It’s hard to be sympathetic, given there were ample opportunities for Ms Hopkins to resolve matters: Mx Monroe gave her a way out early on, but this was not heeded. Also, Ms Hopkins’ past attitude to those who find themselves in debt has been unforgiving to the point of sneering derision (she equated “being in debt” with “being on benefits”).
Think before you Tweet. And if you can’t be bothered, then don’t do it. End of story.
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