Monday, 10 August 2009

The Daily Mail :: The Backlash

After just reading through the comments on the Daily Mail piece in which I featured today, I feel the need to defend myself.

Most of my defence rests on this: I didn’t actually say any of the unpleasant things I was accused of having said. Which is to say, I was heavily misquoted or, when things I was alleged to have said actually bore some relation to what I did say, they were taken entirely out of context.

For example, the account of the speed date is entirely fictitious. We didn’t talk about that at all. Rather it’s a fake conversation based on a much longer, much more detailed description of what actually happened which I blogged about here, here and here.

The vast majority of the nasty reaction in the comments, however, centres on this excerpt:

‘I know being critical and superficial must sound terrible when I'm so ugly myself,' he admits. 'But I fancy dark women with black hair, black eyes and olive skin. I went to Italy for the first time recently and it was like landing in Paradise. I would love to live there - or, in fact, in any country where women are less pasty than in Britain.'

Jesus. What an absolute arsehole I would be if I had said that, apropos of nothing. In reality, what happened was this: during the interview I was asked if I had ‘a type’. I said that I did, yes, but I could see that admitting that was tantamount to saying ‘I find some women attractive and some women unattractive’, and that this could make me sound rather superficial and hypocritical, because how dare an unattractive man find some women unattractive? I went on to say that some of the women I found unattractive were women who were commonly accepted as being beautiful – women like Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. I think I also mentioned Jordan. I certainly meant to. I made a point of pointing out that a person’s personality makes all the difference, and if a conventionally 'beautiful' person has an 'ugly' personality, then it's that personality shines through.

I guess I should really have known I was being set up.

Oh, and I never said that women in Britain were ‘pasty’. What I actually said – in response to a question about whether or not I was seeing anyone at the moment – was that women in the North East of England – where I’m living at the moment – are ‘pasty’ and ‘white’. To be more specific, I talked about how the vast majority of the people in the North East seem to have been born and bred in the North East and I talked about how that’s almost entirely the opposite in London, where almost everyone you meet is from somewhere else. I talked about the women in London being from all over the world and about how I enjoyed and was excited by that diversity.

But there you go. I knew the risks when I agreed to the interview. The Daily Mail is a tabloid newspaper and that’s what tabloid newspapers do. They distort the facts. They conflate, misquote and when things don’t quite fit with their remit, they invent. And I can’t really blame the commenters either, because despite the fact that everyone knows this, everyone seems to forget it. You read a quote and you assume it’s an accurate reflection of the subject’s personality. And if that personality comes across as rather unpleasant, you react, usually without pausing to wonder if what you're reading is true or not. I’ve done it myself.

Having said that, Sandy in London? Go fuck yourself.


Oh, and I'm on GMTV on Wednesday morning. PLEASE DO NOT WATCH ME.

Thank you.

Share on Facebook! Digg this


cheps said...

Learned about u thanks to the DM article, which directed me to ur blog. Didn't think u came off as a hypocrite or a superficial ass. The majority of the DM readers tend to over react all the time, especially when "beauty" is brought up (and they are the first to state that british women seem lacking compared to other women).

Anyway, hope ur book is a success! Cheers.

La Bête said...

Thanks, gorgeous. ;)

La Bête said...

Good Lord, I do believe I just did a winking emoticon. You see? You see what it does to you?

Anonymous said...

Stan, my sweetheart, that was possibly the shortest blogging break in the history of everything. I don't even bother explaining breaks of under two months any more, which is probably why I have precisely three readers. Bless them.

I once got into a huge row with BBC North East for showing a clip of me insulting someone's Dr Who sculpture outside a gym. To be honest, the bit I was really upset about was that I'd just spent 45 minutes on a treadmill, and I was wearing a cycle helmet, so I looked horrific. The media, eh? They just want to fuck us all over. Except of course when they put nice pictures of the charity I work for in the paper. Then I like them.

I think it's a mark of good character to have been stitched up by the Mail. Just think of the company in which that puts you!


Larry Teabag said...

Don't sweat it.

The Daily Mail is bogroll shat on by fascists and sniffed over by morons. Even if you had said the unpleasant things you were accused of, they'd still be among the more salubrious opinions expressed in any given edition.

I corresponded with them once.

(Enjoying the book, by the way.)

La Bête said...

I did say 'unless something staggering happens'. Was this not staggering enough? It was for me. It got my gander up.

What did you say about someone's Dr Who sculpture, you heartless swine?

La Bête said...

Laugh out loud! As opposed to one of those silent laughs I sometimes do, which aren't really laughs at all. Smiles I think you call them.

Cheers, Larry. Firstly for the link to the letter; secondly for the kind words. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. You're a fantastic writer and a magic storyteller. I can't quite believe some of your wilder tales but I admire your skill in telling them, and I'm sure they're true in essence, if you know what I mean.

Of course, I'm consumed by curiosity as to how you really look. Do you have any plans to take the bag off? I'm watching with interest and will buy your book when it comes to the shops here in Australia.

Anonymous said...

I said I wasn't very impressed. Which I wasn't.

I don't think you're in any position to call me a heartless swine after what you've been saying about the ladies of England. So there.

Anonymous said...

What time are you on GMTV? Really, really enjoying your blog - look forward to it massively and will miss it. Come back soon!

La Bête said...

Anon1, thank you. No plans as yet, no. It’s just getting interesting.

Sorry, Spider – obviously that should have been heartless pasty swine.

Anon2, I don’t know yet. And when I do know, I will not say. I really don’t want anyone to see it. I’m afraid I might poop in my pants and accidentally say something foul.

who knows said...

Larry Teabag - That is officially the best definition of the Daily Fail I have ever read.

Our Glamorous Heroine said...

Why you wasted your time talking to The Daily Mail, I've no idea, but I'd take joy in the uncomplimentary comments. Surely it would be a much more serious indictment if readers of said fascist rag actually agreed with you?

Catofstripes said...

Grief, did people take the Mail seriously? I read the article, noticed the DM spin and misquotations and ignored them because that's what the bloody paper does. It could have been so much worse, as I said before and you probably thought I was being unobservant...

(maybe I should have remembered it's also read by the woman who isn't my M-in-L and scryed her reaction!)

What's the quote about all publicity and the rest of it?

You're getting frazzled over nothing, chill and have a hug. It's so totally unimportant in the greater scheme. Now, take that break.

BPP said...

Sounds like a rum deal, that. Can't you complain to the PCC? Get this journalist struck off?

Or whatever it is they do.

Hang 'em?

Bea said...

Bete I empathise with you. I have been writing on my blog about press. I've been finding the same recently.

I have had bad press about my book (taking stories and facts out of context), and I recently made the mistake of trusting someone at Pick me Up Magazine who said they wanted to do a tasteful, sensitive piece after my disaster debut in NOTW. The kind lady read it back to me and I corrected all her inaccurate facts, but she printed them anyway in this weeks mag!

They didn't want to show any sort of classy work photos from my website they wanted to pretend I wore PVC and used a photo of me when I was going out clubbing and tried to imply it's how I dressed for work. They also said that I actually stopped escorting because I thought I was going to get murdered WTF?! - where the writer herself then adds 'well what did she expect?!'.

It seems people know before they speak to you what they want to say and how they want you to come across, and if when you get interviewed you don't say what they want you to say, they twist it!

I haven't seen the article, I'll look it up, but I understand how you feel. It makes me realise what celeb's put up with on a daily basis.

PS, nearly at the end of your book chap 31 :)

Sophie Holt said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the Daily Fail commenters - as Cheps says above they aren't the most desirable bunch. Almost everything usually boils down to "bloody nu-Labour!", "bloody europe!" or perhaps most likely "bloody immigrants!", no matter what the original subject matter. And anyway, it brought many of us here which has got to be a good thing!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bete - to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, there's only one thing worse than having hundreds of angry comments about you in a massive national tabloid - and that's not having hundreds of angry comments about you in a massive national tabloid :-)

(Unless, of course, you are the Baby P killers. But they haven't got a book to promote...)

J x

miss pitch said...

It's only a matter of time and Max Clifford.

BPP said...

Hang on! Isn't the PCC the rozzers one? If it is, I didn't mean that. I meant the press one.

Complain to the press one, Stan.

Andromeda said...

Are you getting a backlash, Stan? What about?

I did not think anything you have said was particularly offensive, but perhaps I am too open minded for my own good.

Reading the Mail piece, I wondered if the reason why you are not getting it is because of the perception that you have no money and no prospects, and whether you or any of your readers have heard the expression "Men are not for looking at."

An essay on that might be quite enlightening.

Hayli said...

Well what can i say... haha
:P after taking the spare time to read through the comments which all made me laugh one way or the other i have to just say one thing... everyone is entitled to their opinions :) and i have to say by common knowledge... most british girls who don't travel abroad to hot countries or don't spend endless hours steaming in a sun bed are generally 'pasty' haha and secondly i saw you on GMTV this morning and not only did you have me laughing, but my mum as well... CONGRATULATIONS! haha also your attempt to make a bag a fashion icon... truthfully i dont see it happening but you sure can pull it off :P not many people know how to look good with a paper bag on their head haha :) good luck with future events and i look forwards to future blogging ;)

gongman said...

But wait! You have a date tomorrow night,on your own admission.Which is more than I have by the way....

This could be disastrous.Supposing you get along swimmingly well and she showers you with love and affection.You ride off into the cliche together etc etc.

WOULD THIS MEAN THE END OF THE BLOG ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

Have some pity on the poor woman Bete.She would be the Yoko Ono of the literary world.And would need a new identity and social security number,all at vast expense to the tax payer.Maybe even plastic surgery.

Hold on...I have you rumbled.Plastic surgery for you both (two for one offer,I hope)
and your problems are solved.

What a cunning stunt.

Anonymous said...

Have a great blogging break, but what's happened to all the links to the interesting blogs?

Lil Lady Jo said...

I learned all about you from DM and actually found the article entertaining and thought you came across rather well, having now read the majority of your blog while working ( yes hinest! ;) :P) I must say you seem like a lovely guy with a great sense of humour :D

*showers you with tiny kittens of praise!*

RandomBoo said...

Hello, pretty much came here to say what cheps just said. Good luck with your book.

Sneshka said...

So I speak!
I read the so hotly discussed article in the Daily Mail, which woke my curiosity and led me to your blog.
You really are an incredibly eloquent writer (English is my 3rd language, so I can only dream about that), but more so, I sense a rich personality with a fabulously dry sense of humour. That already makes you attractive, no?
I shall buy the book and wish you most success!
Kind regards


S Brenchley said...

Hello - why don't you like Liz Jones? I don't like her either - she keeps claiming to be anorexic and I'm thinking maybe she's got body dysmorphia too - she's just annoying and not anorexic. It seems really sad that she's obsessive about her food and all and still hasn't managed to get an actual proper eating disorder