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Daily Star Reporter Quits Over Fictional Anti-Muslim Stories

This is pretty bad even for a tabloid.

Daily Star reporter quits in protest at tabloid’s ‘anti-Muslim’ coverage

The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its “hatemongering” anti-Muslim propaganda.

In a resignation letter, Richard Peppiatt said he was leaving after the Star gave sympathetic coverage to the far-right English Defence League last month.

Peppiatt admits producing a number of fictional stories about celebrities during his two years at the tabloid, a practice he implies was sanctioned by his seniors.

The reporter, who was once made to dress up in a burqa, now accuses the paper of inciting racial tensions and Islamaphobia. “You may have heard the phrase ‘the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas’,” Peppiatt wrote to the proprietor, Richard Desmond, in a letter seen by the Guardian.

“Well, try this: ‘The lies of a newspaper in London can get a bloke’s head caved-in down an alley in Bradford.’ If you can’t see that words matter, you should go back to running porn magazines.”

Desmond’s media empire has included pornographic magazines and adult TV channels as well as Express newspapers, Channel 5 and celebrity magazines. Desmond has said he was not consulted before the decision to publish the front-page story and editorial about the EDL.

Peppiatt tells him in his letter: “The weight of your ownership rests heavy on the shoulders of everyone, from the editor to the bloke who empties the bins.”

Peppiatt, who handed in his resignation this week, said the “incendiary” suggestion the EDL was planning to field election candidates was known to be an exaggeration. “But further up the newsprint chain it appears a story, too good to allow the mere spectre of reality to restrain, was spotted,” he wrote.

The EDL story is one of a number of prominent articles published by the Star that Peppiatt claims were made up, including some of his own. The reporter was recently involved in stories claiming Rochdale council had spent taxypayers’ money on “Muslim-only squat-hole loos”. In fact, the toilets were neither paid for by the local authority or “Muslim-only”.

“I was tasked with writing a gloating follow-up declaring our post-modern victory in ‘blocking’ the non-existent Islamic cisterns of evil,” Peppiatt wrote. The Press Complaints Commission later ruled the story was inaccurate and misleading.

The reporter also quotes Kelly Brook, who recently complained about the number of fabricated stories she reads about herself on the internet. She said: “There was a story that I’d seen a hypnotherapist to help me cut down on the time I take to get ready to go out. Where do they [journalists] get it from?”

Peppiatt wrote: “Maybe I should answer that one. I made it up. Not that it was my choice: I was told to.” He said he had “plucked” the story about Brook’s experimentation with hypnotherapy from his imagination, adding: “Not that it was all bad. I pocketed a £150 bonus.”

In a list of “my other earth-shattering exclusives” for the Star, Peppiatt recalls producing articles about Michael Jackson, the pop star Robbie Williams and Katie Price which he said had no factual basis.

He also admits making up a story suggesting that Matt Lucas was on suicide watch following the death of the comedian’s former civil partner. Lucas won substantial damages in court. Peppiatt criticises the Star’s editorial judgment in his letter, accusing it of hypocrisy, and “arranging the day’s news based on the size of the subjects’ breasts”.

He adds: “On the awe-inspiring day millions took to the streets of Egypt to demand freedom, your paper splashed on: JORDAN … THE MOVIE. A snub to history? Certainly,” he writes. “An affront to Journalism? Most definitely.”

As a young reporter desperate to make his name in Fleet Street, Peppiatt concedes he took to his commissions “with gusto”, but now questions the ethics of what he was required to do, suggesting he was at times promoting an anti-Muslim agenda.

“On order I dressed up as John Lennon, a vampire, a Mexican, Noel Gallagher, St George (twice), Santa Claus, Aleksandr the Meerkat, the Stig, a transvestite, Alex Reid. When I was ordered to wear a burqa in public for the day, I asked: ‘Just a head scarf or full veil?’ Even after being ambushed by anti-terror cops when panicked Londoners reported ‘a bloke pretending to be a Muslim woman’, I didn’t complain.

“Mercifully, I’d discovered some backbone by the time I was told to find some burqa-clad shoppers (spot the trend?) to pose with for a picture [with me] dressed in just a pair of skin-tight M&S underpants.”

Peppiatt’s letter concludes by criticising Desmond for not providing greater resources. “When you assign budgets thinner than your employee-issue loo roll there’s little option but for Daily Star editors to build a newspaper from cut-and-paste jobs off the Daily Mail website, all tied together with gormless press releases.

“But when that cheap-and-cheerful journalism gives the oxygen of publicity to corrosive groups like the EDL … it’s time to lay down my pen.”

The Daily Star rejected Peppiatt’s claims, implying he may hold a grudge against his employer after being “passed over” for several staff positions. It said: “Regarding the paper’s coverage of Islam, he never voiced any disquiet over the tone. For the record, the Daily Star editorial policy does not hold any negativity towards Islam and the paper has never, and does not endorse, the EDL.”[Peppiatt] refers to a Kelly Brook story – in fact he approached and offered the newspaper that story, vouched for its accuracy, and then asked for and received an extra freelance fee for doing so,” the statement said.

The Star also claimed that Peppiatt had been warned by senior reporters after suggesting he would make up quotes.

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  • Khushboo

    ^thanks for the info. I’m glad CNN covered this atleast.

  • corey

    chances of this story being on jihad watch would be very slim unless they can somehow spin it as being somehow a “stealth jihad” tactic.

  • jacque

    Muslim tries to help out Jews against Christian fundamentalists.

  • Ahlam

    Terry Jones response.. if there is any… to the murders he is responsible for will probably be along the lines of “Waah Waah Wahh… I’m so depressed by what I did.. I am going to go jump off my wallet!” *facepalm*

  • Khushboo

    @ Suley, errr…I’m confused. Am I pretending that these MUSLIM extremists were wrong to kill UN staffers?? why don’t you tell me what I’m thinkin since you’re such an expert that you know me better than I know myself. You’re so thick headed that it’s not worth my time arguing with you so I GIVE UP! I would like to move on to other issues please Thank you very much! I can never get my time back. *sigh*

  • Slevdi Davoteca

    He is responsible for these murders. Directly.

    He knew that his action of burning the Koran would wind up a percentage of Muslims in the world who would go bonkers and kill people. Yet he still did it. I find that unforgivable, especially in the name of free speech. All rights come with responsibilities.

    We can argue until the cows come home about whether these Muslims should know better or not, but the fact is we all know they don’t. That is why we shouldn’t play with fire like this. The consequences were totally predictable. This man has incited people to violence and people died as a result. He should be arrested and tried for that crime.

  • “Just pretending that that their moral code is bankrupt,”

    Sometimes I wish this site had a Private Message feature so that people could deal with their personal beefs.

    Suleyman I am sure you understand takfir. Because we are very reluctant to declare someone who says “La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah”, and “I am Muslim”, out of the fold of Islam for their behavior, some Muslims don’t like to hear the extremists being labeled “not religious” or even “non-Muslim”. It brings up the ancient debate of whether major sins take one out of the fold of Islam. However, we must be very careful to scrutinize if what we say makes it seem like ghuluw(extremism) is legitimately within the limits of Islamically permissible behavior. Ghuluw is a clear indication of moral degradation leading to moral bankruptcy, so we must be careful never to link ghuluw to Islam in any way.

    “Silence is not an option when a crime is done in the name of Islam”

    I agree with you on this, but this is a site dedicated to Islamophobia. As I told Dan, constantly bringing up Muslim crimes on a site like this is counterproductive and it looks like tu quouque deflection.

    Remember two things:

    (1)Explanation is not the same as justification. None of the Muslim posters here has ever justified the crimes committed by Muslims, committed in the name of Islam or not.Just because we give reasons for a behavior in order to bring about an understanding of the cause of that behavior does not mean we support the behavior itself.

    (2)Apologetics is not whitewashing, covering up or lying. The popular vernacular has turned the colloquial meaning of “myth” into “falsehood”, and now “apologetic” is equated with “lie”, both of which are inaccurate. Apologetics is the intellectual defense of a position. Calling someone an apologist, with the negative connotation intended, is the usual smear tactic of the Islamophobes, who rely on negative, differential meanings since the majority of their audiences are average people. Please be careful what we call fellow Muslims just because they disagree with our position. Calling someone a non-Muslim because of their behavior is a bit extreme, but calling their behavior irreligious is not, so labeling someone an apologist because of the latter is a bit inappropriate.

    Allahu A’lam
    ———————————

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • Solid Snake

    “If they do it in the the name of Islam, it obligates us to either correct them (after giving them a trial and punishment, which in this case merits the death penalty unless the victims family forgives them) or to applaud them.”

    yes I completely agree that we should punish them. As for your classifying Muslims into two groups I disagree: there are those who cannot act for many reasons, those who can act but do not, those who do act, those who ignore it, and those who applaud it. As for those who cannot act, they should make dua for the Muslims to be guided. Those who can act but do not we should advise them and encourage them to fight extremism. We should pray for the safety for those that do combat extremism.

    Again I disagree with you on another point. We all know that there are certain actions that can cause you to leave the fold of Islam. And killing inoccent Muslims and non Muslims is one of those actions. So yes we can label them as kuffaar they have spilt the blood and took the lives that Allah has prohibited from being take .

    As for ” It isn’t Islam of course, that is not what I said, but where are the riots condemning them abusing Islam?”
    Riots are forbidden in Islam due to the destruction, chaos, and injuries that occur as a result. If you mean where are the voices speaking out against extremist Muslims then for a start you have the writers and readers of loonwatch, scholars worldwide from Saudi Arabia to North America. I mean it’s obvious no one is applauding them or making excuses for them. Understanding the particulars of their situation as some readers have commented is another thing entirely.

  • Suleyman

    What makes the Afghan attacks particulary heinous, Sam Seed, is that the government actually saw fit to publish pastor terry Jones video on the news. Something the MSM in the west did not do. The Aghan govt itself is responsible for this if the media is state controlled. Hamid Karzai should be in the dock if Afghan media is state controlled., along with the men who comitted this crime, and all those who were inciting it. The strictest punishments should go to those who were doing it in the name of Islam to deter Islam being abused. Let them comit their crimes in the name of their ugly, misogynistic worse than animal like tribal culture.Not in the name of Islam.

  • Mosizzle

    Let it go, Suleyman, we all agree that what the Afghan protestors did was wrong. We may have different opinions as to what is responsible (personally I blame the people who were inciting the violence in Afghanistan), but that is less important.

    We, as Muslims, are outraged that such atrocities are being committed in the name of our religion.

  • Suleyman

    Solid Snake Wow, either you do not know the concept of moral code or you are ignorant of the Muslim moral code. Those are the only two reasons I can think of tht would prompt u to make such a baseless statement. It’s actually really an embarressing fallacy, what your saying in a nutshell is that since these people did it in the name of Islam, however that would maybe twisting Hadith/ayat or just yelling Allahu Akbar, that what they are doing is in compliance with Islamic moral code. That’s what u are basically saying. “it makes their moral code Muslim” wow….

    No, I did not say that their actions are within the limits prescribed for Muslims. I said;If they do it in the the name of Islam, it obligates us to either correct them (after giving them a trial and punishment, which in this case merits the death penalty unless the victims family forgives them) or to applaud them.

    Now we can sympathise with Afghani’s because of the occupation, (Russian, then American) and their suffering because of drone attacks, American criminal army tactics, but not their misognyistic tribal ways, expecially if they do it in the name of Islam. It isn’t Islam of course, that is not what I said, but where are the riots condemning them abusing Islam?

    Are you suggesting we should keep quiet, with the byline, “oh they’re tribals, and they are occupied?” To hell with their tribal ways, which are actually forbidden. Wasn’t tribalism outlawed by Al Rasool (PBUH)? I think it is about time we raised armies ourselves against miscreants like these.

    Just pretending that that their moral code is bankrupt, and giving them a sly pat on the side for their “tribal” ways, with a wink like Sam Seed just did, is not an option.

    KhushbooSuley, you sound like a typical Islamophobe calling me an “apologist”. I don’t think you’re comprehending what I posted. Lookee, Khushboo really does suffer from a bad case of pretending and insisting on what others are what he wants them to be, rather than what they are. I am no more an Islamophobe than Afghan extremists are non Muslims.

  • corey

    besides I haven’t heard news of muslims in america rioting in the streets because of what Yosemite sams older cousin did.

  • corey

    besides haven’t heard news of muslims in america rioting in the streets because of what Yosemite sams older cousin did.

  • Mosizzle

    Wow, that’s 7 commenters so far on this thread that agree that the behaviour of the Afghan protestors was totally unacceptable. Some of the above commenters are completely hostile to the idea that Islam encourages such uncivilised behaviour. How does this go with Robert Spencer’s belief that this is a “Leftist pro-jihad site” made up of “Islamic Supremacists” and “Stealth Jihadis”? Yeah, thanks for bringing this up John.

    A lot of people throw around the extremist label willy-nilly. Let’s reserve it for the true Muslim extremists that pose a threat to Islam in general as well as the countries in which they live.

  • jacque

    Dan states, “I can understand why Arab countries only allow state-appointed imams and khutbahs. If Pakistan and Afghanistan had state-appointed imams and khutbahs, perhaps such fanaticism would not be widespread.”

    Most Arab countries allow state-appointed imams so that those religious leaders will not say anything bad about the regime. Dictatorships have to be concerned about their image. In Saudi, you can be jailed for making or writing critical comments about the royal family. Saudi uses Islam to control its population.

    Look at one state that did not have state-appointed Mullahs. That would be Iran. The movement against the Shah began by Imams criticizing the regime in the mosques and then it grew from there. The Arabs probably saw this and realized they needed to control the religious leaders in their respective countries.

    As for Afghanistan, how is appointing Imams going to help? Most of the educated class left the country almost fourty years ago. The only religious leaders left are the ones who combine Islam with tribal law that is embedded in the region.

    Though I disagree completely with you on that topic, I fully agree with you on the subject of Terry Jones. I will use the Salman Rushdie angle. By putting a fatwa on his head, Rushdie received a ton of publicity and became famous. That fame made him very wealthy and put him on a pedestal where he did not belong. It would have been better if nothing had been said against him. The Satanic Verses probably would not have sold well and he would have faded into oblivion. The same can be said of Jones. If you don’t give him any attention, he’s nobody, so why make him into a somebody.

  • Solid Snake

    And no I am not an apologist nor do I sympathize with any form of extermisim or extremists. No man is above the law whether he is a Muslim or Non Muslim. I condem all forms of extermisim and extremists.

    It sure is a pity that we have to throw out such disclaimers on a site dedicated to stopping extremisim, It should be obvious, I guess The loons are out in full force on the threads here.

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