Another day, another tirade from minor thesp Frances Barber, this time directed at journalist and campaigner Owen Jones. The added spice this time is that Ms Barber has decided that somehow Jones has defamed her, and that she will commence legal proceedings against him. But I have less than ideal news for her: this may present a problem with the R-Word. That’s R as in Reputation.
As I’m sure the lawyer who is reputed to be ready and willing to assist Ms Barber knows all too well, reputation is the key element of any action for defamation. Anyone claiming to have been defamed must be able to show that what they assert to be defamatory would damage their reputation - and, indeed, that they have a reputation worth defending.
So let’s look at what Jones has said, and where Ms Barber has taken issue with it. Here’s the Tweet at the heart of it all: “Labour must do far more to tackle racism within its own ranks. It can start by rejecting the application of Frances Barber, whose behaviour is self-evidently incompatible with Labour membership, including this *gratuitously* racist tweet which she then lies about sending
”. And Ms Barber’s response?
Here’s a sample. “You don’t scare me Owen Jones . You nasty despicable flip flopping whatever you want me to be non person. I have my integrity intact. You have nothing. But I’ll enjoy seeing you in court … Already been offered libel law assistance to stop Owen Jones attacking me. He will regret this
”. Now let’s consider her significant previous.
On the subject of Islamophobia, she memorably
Tweeted “When I asked for more Muslim leaders to speak against these atrocities in the past I had ‘Islamophobe’ screamed at me … let’s get the Immams [sic] on C4 News altogether [sic] decrying this barbarism … How bizarre is it to decry peodo [sic] rapist beheaders? … I hate beheading rapist peodophiiles [sic], women wrapped in bin bags. Am I a shock?
” And there was more.
Her attitude to Diane Abbott was, shall we say, eyebrow raising
. “Wind rush [sic] is a horrible disgrace. But the thought of Abbott crowing about the resignation of a Real Home office minister when we might have this hapless creature is anathema
”. Got that? According to Ms Barber, Diane Abbott is a “hapless creature
More recently, she reacted to news
that Jon Lansman had tabled a motion to abolish the post of Labour deputy leader by sniping “As if we didn’t tell you . Ernst Röhm in action
”. That’s comparing a Jew to a Nazi. And thus, it seems, covering all the racist bases.
On top of that, we have Ms Barber’s past admission of Tweeting while Elephant’s Trunk And Mozart, and the apparent flakiness of her attack on Jones, as Jennie Bujold, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, has pointed out. “Here’s the person she directed it at confirming she tweeted it and a reply to said racist tweet, written mins later with a screenshot of her racist tweet in it. This should be interesting
”. She didn’t Tweet it? Looks like she did.
So when it comes to an examination of her reputation, any action for defamation brought by Ms Barber could find itself in challenging territory. Very challenging territory.
Or she could just desist from carrying out those Twitter attacks. Decisions, decisions
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Who the hell is Frances Barber? Never heard of her. What TV soap, Hollywood blockbuster or TV advert does the lady appear in?
Last thing she was in was in Red Dwarf as the woman who Cat sees who is actually the Polymorph.
Since then f all
Barber needn't concern herself about her "reputation".
She hasn't got one.
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