"i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story."
It may come as no surprise that the complaint was dismissed. In my experience, complaints departments usually exist to defend the incompetence of their buddies - thus formal complaints never seem to get anywhere.
The reason my complaint was dismissed was because:
"I have looked at the column in question and carefully considered it in the light of the obligations in the Code. The primary clause cited has been Clause 12 (Discrimination). Clause 12 divides into two parts, both of which relate to reference to an individual. However, Katie Hopkins’ column does not relate to any individual at all. In these circumstances, Clause 12 does not apply to the column and there is no breach of the Code. "
That was part of the reply I got from Philippa Kennedy OBE, Sun Ombudsman.
So what exactly is she saying...that the papers can't publish racist and discriminatory material against an individual, but if it's against a group of people that's okay, in accordance with the Editors Code of Practice Clause 12 as applied to the decision above..?
But it's hardly fair...likening migrants to cockroaches and the norovirus might not be discriminating against an individual, but it is discriminating against a group of individuals. A race of people. And what is racism if it is not “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races, and prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”
So if The Sun, that foul and despicable source of "news" is going to justify Katie Hopkins' article as non-discriminatory under the rules of its own Code of Practice, then what next..? Is the paper going to get away with broadcasting this muck?
Well, why wouldn't it?
The Sun is a bunch of Tory-loving bastards whose corporation is riddled with a cancerous history of lying, misinforming, corruption, seeking out scandal, and just general shitty conduct such as the links with phone-hacking and allegedly paying police for information.
* * *
This headline was published before it became known that the torpedoing of the Belgrano during the Falklands War claimed 368 lives. It later cost The Sun a fair amount of integrity, if it even had any in the first place.
In recent times, the fairly high-profile drugs trial of Tulisa Contostavlos collapsed after a Southwark Crown Court judge ruled that a Sun employee had lied at a pre-trial hearing and manipulated evidence against Tulisa. She was therefore cleared of supplying Class A drugs.
The lies spread about the Hillsborough Disaster led to the on-going city-wide boycott of the paper in Liverpool.
This front page from October 2013 was criticised by both MIND and Rethink Mental Illness, presumably because in one fell swoop it destroyed years of effort to de-stigmatise mental illness.
This famous headline of questionable truth claimed that Freddie Starr ate a live hamster...
This headline, proclaiming that a 4 year old boy had the mark of Satan on him caused a backlash on Twitter, including the scorn of Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who spoke out on Twitter against the article, branding it "damaging". She wrote: "@TheSunNewspaper should pull their damaging front page story with photo of a child. He does not carry 'mark of devil' he is a real child!"
So, yes...all in all, I have little hope that this so-called newspaper will do anything about the trash that Katie Hopkins has written, and that she continues to write. It doesn't matter that she's an ignorant and judgemental hypocrite, who after boasting about the thrills of an affair with married men in an article in The Mirror in August 2013,
then wrote this article on 25th Feb 2014:
Katie Hopkins: Shane Warne makes me feel dirty, stay away Michelle Mone
"The idea that someone would allegedly go for a taken man gives me the same dirty feeling you get from using a toilet on a train or touching other people's children."
I also have no hope that Katie Hopkins will give up this apparently lucrative career of penning hateful articles. She seems to think that the world needs her views. That she says what people are really thinking. Which is of course, utter crap. She may say what some people think, but she most certainly does not say what most people think. Recent events over the Gunship spewings have made that pretty clear.
"Saying it how it is" is just a meaningless phrase. A catchy modern hook upon which to rely so she can constantly provide her "truths".
In reality, "saying it how it is" only serves to justify her having a platform for tossing out these memorable little quips of ignorance and prejudice. They are not necessarily objective truths, which means that all she's doing is venting opinions which often lack evidence and logic and compassion.
Free speech is wonderful. But it cannot be the crutch for mindlessly vomiting up hateful and prejudicial viewpoints into the public arena, certainly not in articles such as the Gunships atrocity. Her articles and her Twitter account do not prove that she's an intelligent person, as much as she'd like to think they do. Honesty is admirable in many situations but quite often, the more intelligent person knows when to just shut the fuck up.