Some media organisations have been laying down the law about the range of subjects in which their staff may indulge when Tweeting from personal accounts, with Sky News being the latest to act. One has to wonder, in light of the latest revelation about the Daily Mail’s
pointless pundit Sarah “Vain
” Vine, whether Associated Newspapers will be next.
As Zelo Street
regulars will know, Ms Vine made a serious and
highly personal allegation against Mic Wright, which he and his
legal representatives agreed was defamatory. A “letter before action
” was duly dispatched. There was a delay of several days. Now he has had a reply. But not the reply he and his lawyers had been expecting.
“I have received a reply not from Sarah Vine personally but from the legal department of Associated Newspapers [my emphasis]. I will he taking further advice … I consider this to be a threat essentially. It's using the power of her employer when the issue was with her words, published on Twitter, as a private individual … I intend to continue to pursue this action and to go as far as possible to secure an apology and damages
The words alleged to be defamatory came from @WestminsterWAG, Ms Vine’s own personal (and pretentiously named) Twitter account. It’s not a Daily Mail
account - or is it? Wright mused “It is apparent that Vine has used Associated's legal department as a cosh to try to stop me from getting justice. The nature of the letter is essentially: ‘Try it and we'll crush you’
”. This is, as many of the Mail’s
victims already know, highly likely
Meanwhile, he had a lame excuse to savour. “To say I am angry is an understatement. Vine and Associated assert that I have suffered no harm as a result of her insinuations. I have been threatened, further defamed, and placed under huge stress. And now they continue the bullying
”. The “you’ve suffered no harm
” excuse may sound familiar.
That’s because it is how the deeply unpleasant Kelvin McFilth excused the Sun’s
repeated libelling of Elton John - behaviour which led the Murdoch tabloid to be forced to stump up a cool million notes in damages. “I think The Sun should have its million quid back. It hasn't damaged him at all, has it?
” That was in 2006; some things never change.
Wright concluded “I have been an employee of several major publishing groups and if I had defamed someone using my personal social media, their legal departments would not have been available to me. This is intimidation. And I won't be stopped by it
”. But it is also a dangerous precedent that Associated Newspapers, on behalf of Ms Vine, is setting.
The company is apparently saying that (a) Sarah Vine and her personal Twitter feed are ANL assets, (b) that they are willing to treat Wright’s action as if it had been against either the Daily Mail
or Mail on Sunday
, (c) they will be picking up the bill, and (d) ANL take responsibility for whatever the @WestminsterWAG Twitter feed puts out there.
And yes, it is a blatant attempt to intimidate. Wright will face delaying tactics, threats against his livelihood, abusive retaliation either from ANL titles or by proxies, only obtaining redress at the door of the court. And even then, ANL will drag its feet paying up.
You thought Sarah Vine was unpleasant? You ain’t seen nothing yet
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These people are erodin
Go get the arl hag, Mic.
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