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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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  • Solid Snake

    “They comitted this crime in the name of Islam which makes their moral code Muslim,”

    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….

  • Khushboo

    correction: Did I defend what these extremists did? not apologize UGH

  • Khushboo

    Suley, you sound like a typical Islamophobe calling me an “apologist”. I don’t think you’re comprehending what I posted. Did I apologize for what these extremists did?! Did I not say “Muslim extremists”? Was that not good enough for you?? Do you want me to lie and say that they’re religious? Seriously?? Where in the Quran does it say to kill innocent people? They’re not following any moral code! They might think it’s justified in their twisted minds but most of us sane ones know it’s unIslamic.

    I simply explained that they’re ticked off enough already, with so many innocent civilians dying and with what happened recently with the American Kill Team killing civilians for fun, that they just needed an excuse to kill Americans after what crazy extremist Terry did. I was explaining it, not excusing it! I blamed them for murder! How it that being an apologist? You sound like uncle Tom Zuhdi Jasser!

  • RDS

    The last thing to remember is for the clerics to never forget the situation on the ground, as not to be the stereotypical out-of-touch scholars that does not understand the reality on the ground. Add a checks-and-balances system that make it stand independent from the judicial system (yet also a contributing body) would make it a working model.

    But eh, what do I know. I’m just a lay person here. Allahu A’lam Bish-shawaab.

  • Mosizzle

    In a recent debate on Pakistani TV about the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, an Islamic scholar reminded everyone that during the time of Caliph Umar, only ~6 people offered fatwas, despite the fact that all the Sahabas had the knowledge that was required. His point was that there should be a central authority, which is independent of the government, that has the power to dish out fatwas and that all other fatwas in the country should be illegal. This would prevent cases like the murder of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti.

    Sounds good to me. If this council was similar to Pakistan’s existing (but useless) Council of Islamic Ideology where there is a good mix of traditional scholars, former judges as well as more reform-minded Imams. If it’s going to get hijacked by the corrupt government or illiterate extremists, then forget it.

  • RDS

    That’s assuming a clean, transparent government acting on the interest of the people. A corrupt government worry of dissidence would simply appoint imams and khatibs who are government sycophants.

    So on one hand we have suppression of free speech, and the other extreme, an unchecked extremism. Could there be a good middle ground? A coalition of nongovernmental, but influential board of clerics and imams that issue semi-binding fatwas for local use?

  • Mosizzle

    “If Pakistan and Afghanistan had state-appointed imams and khutbahs, perhaps such fanaticism would not be widespread.”

    Well, they like to talk about a Khilafah and ironically that was how things worked back then. Only a qualified judge (Qazi) could give a death sentence, rather than some random Maulvis on street corners spraying Takfir all over the place. They know this, but they don’t practice what they preach.

  • RDS

    Ah yes, third parties shamelessly exploiting on the anger and insecurities that the people have.

    But you don’t have to look far in the nooks and crannies of the internet for all the “see, I told you Islam is barbaric” comments to come out of the woodwork.

    *sigh*, it’s gonna be Jyllands-Posten all over again.

  • Mosizzle

    I think it’s part of a wider anti-American trend. With the recent civilian deaths in drone attacks, the Raymond Davis issue, Iraq & Afghanistan, and general hatred of all things ‘Western’, this was kind of like the ‘final straw’ for some people. Of course, they don’t know that the government condemned Terry Jones. Let’s not forget that the “Islamic” parties in the region can offer people nothing, so they have to emphasise a war between Islam and the West so they can get elected and rescue the Muslims from the “Crusaders”. Most of the Pakistsn protests seem to have been organised by the JUI.

    Many Islamic scholars have actually left such parties because they are far too political. Their focus is now on improving the people themselves, and God will change the rest.

  • RDS

    Imagine this scenario.

    Your country has been torn in sectarian violence for long, and then a group of foreigners, led by United States came in and waged war, on the pretext to free you from oppression. For some time, you hoped that finally, there would be justice and there would be water and electricity running. Instead, they made the most corrupt of men into leaders, the sectarian divide grew larger, and the foreign forces gradually impose harsher and harsher measure. Your parents were searched at gunpoint nightly, your cousin has disappeared, your friend found shot dead, and your sister’s family killed in an airstrike. You try to cling into the faintest hope that maybe, maybe only the soldiers of these foreign forces were “bad”, but their country is not.

    And then, news spread that someone from the US has burned the Holy Book you sincerely believe.

    Anger does not flare up without a cause. Keep this in mind: it’s always easy to blame when you look from the outside. Although the reason for these killings were understandable, this does not, I repeat, does not make them acceptable.

    May God forgive them, for they have acted in error.

  • Dan

    Honestly Mosizzle, 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.

    Out of all the Muslim countries in the world, only Afghanistan and Pakistan and their leaders brought up Terry Jones, while the rest of the world ignored him. Why do we like to make ourselves look like barbarians? I said this before and I’ll say it again: the greatest threat to Islam does come from within.

  • Mosizzle

    Dan, I heard one of the clerics at the Blue Mosque called a mob of 4000 to violence. But when he was asked by the media, he said that it was some other Taliban cleric…

    Sure. We believe you. 😉

    “Anyone else here think the clerics who incited the provocation should also be executed?”

    I think it’s about time Muslim countries made laws against inciting violence. At the moment, anyone can announce someone to be “Wajib-Ul-Qatl” during a Khutba and the mob just go on a frenzy. It may not happen all the time, but it shoudn’t ever happen. Khutbas aren’t even supposed to be about announcing some hit list or making a political speech…

    It’s impractical to punish the crowd, so the government can only punish the Imam who made the speech. From an Islamic perspective, he has no authority to say stuff like that.

  • Mosizzle

    Suleyman, we agree with you that these criminals were wrong to do so and that they should be punished for their crime. You’re the one who has misrepresented our comments and made wild accusations, so you should apologise.

    Your obsession with attacking people on his thread, rather than making a general point is worrying…

  • Dan

    Tonight, the governor of Balkh province, of which Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital, is telling the international media that the men who sacked the UN compound were Taliban infiltrators. That’s rubbish. Local clerics drove around the city with megaphones yesterday, calling residents to protest the actions of a small group of attention-seeking, bigoted Americans. Then, during today’s protest, someone announced that not just one, but hundreds of Korans had been burned in America. A throng of enraged men rushed the gates of the UN compound, determined to draw blood. Had the attackers been gunmen, they would likely have been killed before they could breach the compound.

    Anyone else here think the clerics who incited the provocation should also be executed? After all, they seem to have no problem calling for the execution of rape victims, so why not give them a taste of their own medicine?

    @Suleyman: Mosizzle and Khushboo are far from Taliban sympathizers bro.

  • Sam Seed

    @Suleyman, I didn’t want to butt in but you are clearly wrong in your assertion that Mosizzle and Khushboo are apologists for the crimes of some Taliban Muslims.You do realise these Afghan Taliban are tribal people and have that sort of mentality (because they are at war).

    Show me in the Quran where this action of the Afghans is justified. No one is pretending that they were not Muslims or that the killings were justified in any way. But you have to agree that the media’s coverage of the Quran burning event by Pastor Terry Jones did provoke the killings of these innocent people. If the Afghans didn’t know about this event there wouldn’t be this grudge.

    And this bit at the end of your last comment “..Apologists will never call Muslims criminals…” Exactly which apologist are you referring to?Where is the evidence to to suggest your claim?

    And you agree with a guy who hates all things Pakistan? Marvellous, this could the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  • Suleyman

    Khushboo said Suley, you’re assuming that these extremists have a Muslim moral code? For real?! Isn’t it obvious that they’re not going by what Muslim moral code?? These guys are terrorists! They’re not religious! Typical apologist cover up. Why did Mohammed (PBUH) warn the Ummah against extremism if extremists do not have a Muslim moral code? Could it be because he didn’t want his followers to apologise for them? Or did he want us to pretend they were non Muslims?

    Another problem we have with apologists is that when a Muslim does something wrong he becomes “not religious”. Whether they are not religious by Khushboo’s standards is not the point and really very irrelevant. What is relevant is they do it in the name of Islam, which obligates every Muslim to either stand with them or disavow them and call for justice. Silence is not an option when a crime is done in the name of Islam. Apologists will never call Muslims criminals, they will either say they are “non Muslims”, “non religious” or they will call tools of something or other, Thus, the criminals like the Afghanis know their legion of apologists will cover their crimes worldwide, or look for a way to blame someone else (they become agents of Crusaders or pseudo Zionists).

    The Afghan Taliban are Muslims whether Khushboo likes it or not. They comitted this crime in the name of Islam which makes their moral code Muslim, this obligates Muslims worldwide to either stand with them, or call it an abuse of Islam. Otherwise they will continue to abuse Islam knowing Khushboo and her worldwide family of iresponsible apologists will apologise for them

  • Khushboo

    correction: blame Terry for Indirectly killing UN staffers.

  • Khushboo

    Suley, you’re assuming that these extremists have a Muslim moral code? For real?! Isn’t it obvious that they’re not going by what Muslim moral code?? These guys are terrorists! They’re not religious!

    and yes, I still blame Terry Jones for provoking these terrorists into INDIRECTLY killing UN staffers. The terrorists are pissed and needed an excuse to kill and Terry Jones happily provided them with one. I’m sure he got what he wanted: to prove his so-called point but he doesn’t understand that majority of Muslims would condemn this act and this act is unIslamic. I don’t know how he can live with himself.

    and yes the Muslim extremists are definitely to blame for killing…happy now? Was that clear enough?

  • Mosizzle

    Lol. Sentence the thing to “death by Gillette”.

  • Farlowe

    I am going to put Terry Jones moustache on trial for crimes against fashion.
    Same goes for Trump’s haircut. I wish these guys photos would stop appearing on news reports.

  • Mosizzle

    Me: “We can’t blame Terry Jones for the actions of stupid Muslim protestors worldwide who think they can defend the Quran by killing people.”

    Somehow, newbie Suleyman got the idea that I think Terry Jones is to blame for the violence. Looks like someone forgot his reading glasses…

  • Mosizzle

    “just because Pastor whatever burns a religious text doesn’t mean we comit a murder”

    I said that! Please stop playing childish games.

    You misrepresented my comment. And now you are evading the topic. I have condemned the actions of the protestors. If you were genuine, you would have accepted your mistake and apologised by now.

    If you can offer this thread nothing but baseless accusations, then go away.

  • Suleyman

    If Jihad Watch agree with what I said it doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong. And just because they think Muslims should condemn the Afghani’s isn’t a license for Spencer haters (of which I am one) to do the opposite and blame Pastor whatever. Jihad Watch is right about that. For different reasons though. My reasons is that Muslim moral code is superior to all, just because Pastor whatever burns a religious text doesn’t mean we comit a murder. We do what we are supposed to do, when confronted by ignorant kuffar. (try to reason with them, then remain silent)

    Stop pandering to Jihad Watch. I aint’ gonna change what I say, even if Spencer agrees with me.

  • Mosizzle

    No comment on how you misrepresented my comment? No? Thought not.

    Do we have a repeat of what “Harry Guggen” tried on the other thread? I don’t know.

  • Khushboo

    WTH! Sillyman, you must be new here. We’ve condemned terrorists many times. No way have I ever ever ever supported what terrorists have done. In fact I was comparing Terry Jones to a Terrorist b/c he was WARNED, not by me, but by GOV’T. and the GENERAL Petraeus not to burn Quran because it would only provoke the crazies. Despite that, crazy Terry burned it and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED! Reread my post or perhaps you deliberately needed an excuse to jump on me.

    It was easy to understand what Mosizzle said. How could you misinterpret that?

    You owe us an apology!

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