Krishnendu Majumdar ((c) Harry Richards Photography)
So it came to pass that in the wake of Noel Clarke being accused of sexual misconduct, and both his membership of the Academy and Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award being suspended, the Murdoch Times published something about Majumdar that was not only not true, but defamatory. The offending article appeared in early May.
Yesterday came the inevitable “correction”: “In 'Bafta boss Krishnendu Majumdar worked with scandal star Noel Clarke on diversity' (News, May 3), we reported concerns that Krishnendu Majumdar’s close links with Noel Clarke and their work together to promote diversity could have hampered Bafta’s handling of the sex allegations against Clarke. We accept that this suggestion is incorrect. There are no close links between the men”.
And so? “We apologise to Mr Majumdar and Bafta for the distress”. The magpies of Northcliffe House had lifted the article, republishing the libel. So Mail Online has now told “An article on 3 May reported claims in The Times that BAFTA chairman Krishnendu Majumdar had close links to Noel Clarke, the actor facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. We now accept that the reference to close links was incorrect … We are happy to make this clear and apologise to BAFTA and Mr Majumdar”.
So who among our free and fearless press would like to report this news? Come on, let’s be having you, there must be some space left over from the prurient coverage of ministerial hypocrite Matt Hancock and the gratuitous doorstepping of his poor wife.
Sadly, all that can be heard is the distant sound of crickets. The story has made the pages of Variety, which has told readers “BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar has received an apology from two British newspapers, The Times of London and Mail Online, for falsely claiming he had ‘close links’ with disgraced actor and director Noel Clarke”.
Deadline has also reported the news: “UK broadsheet the Times has issued an apology to BAFTA and its chair Krishnendu Majumdar … The Mail Online has also agreed to issue a similar apology … after picking up on the original report”. The Hollywood Reporter has added “BAFTA, which issued legal complaints against both publications, says 'The Times' has also paid damages and costs, and that the 'Mail Online' is expected to follow suit”.
But among those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, it’s a no comment all round. Not even Press Gazette has (yet) mentioned the story. Even the racist element: as Bafta has noted regarding the case, the Times “also implied that because both the Chair and Clarke are men of colour, this also influenced the decision to present Clarke with the OBCC award. Both claims were baseless”. Casual racism is also not news today.
Once again, the Murdoch press is caught dabbling in racial smears. And once again, the iron law of press Omertà means they all keep schtum about it. That’s not good enough.
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