The Mail titles have significant previous when it comes to doxxing their targets: who, for instance, can forget the Daily Mail splashing the family home of student Amber Langford across its pages as punishment for her going to a fancy dress party as one of the two World Trade Center towers? Or identifying the house of disabled pensioners and lottery winners Michael and Jean O’Shea, because they claimed universal benefits?
Not the paper's first choice of lead story
But that was then under the régime of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, and now with Geordie Greig at the helm, the Daily Mail is not so keen on doxxing. This lighter touch when going after targets, though, does not extend to the Mail on Sunday, which is rapidly becoming a kind of rogue newspaper, exhibiting the kind of appalling behaviour that eventually did for the late and not at all lamented Screws.
The latest MoS mis-step was revealed yesterday afternoon by lawyer and campaigner Jolyon Maugham, as he told “Just received notification from the Mail on Sunday that, in a week in which I have received death threats, they are tomorrow going to publish my private address”. Back to the doxxing. So what could be do about it?
“I have instructed lawyers and we will be writing to the Mail on Sunday very shortly … Let me pre-empt what the Mail on Sunday seems to say is the public interest. Yes, I own an expensive house which I spent a very considerable sum renovating. I have never pretended not to be, by any ordinary standard, wealthy”. There is more.
“Yes, to answer a question put to me by the Mail on Sunday, since becoming a public figure I have sought to keep my connection with my private residence out of the public domain. Although the Mail suggests some bad motive, you might think there is a more obvious reason”. If his work results in him receiving death threats, it seems a no-brainer to keep his connection with his private residence out of the public domain.
It also seems that the MoS was going after Maugham’s work with the Good Law Project: “I earn nothing from the work done by the Good Law Project, not one penny. Indeed, since it started, in addition to the bulk of my working life I have contributed many thousands of pounds of my own money to support its activities”. Then the MoS backed down.
Sort of. “The Mail on Sunday having categorically stated that they were going to publish now say ‘the item about your client has not made the final draft of [X]’ (I do not intend to name X). They have asked me to delete my tweets, but I will not … Abysmal though X's actions were I do not propose to identify X. It seems to me that we should all be entitled to pursue our daily lives, and our work, without harassment or the risk of our lives or those of our families being endangered by extremists”. Quite.
What was going on? Simples. Maugham was - nearly - being doxxed for the heinous crime of being a “rich Remainer”. This would feed the narrative of Remain being driven by rich people who weren’t really in touch with all those ordinary hard-working Brits. Except, of course, the game could be played with rich and out of touch Leavers at least as easily - as happened when Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s Chelsea pad made the news recently.
And that is why today’s MoS has, instead, splashed on an elderly couple’s botched suicide pact. The bad behaviour will no doubt be resumed next week - lawyers permitting.
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