Resolution Statement 16183-17 McCarron v That’s Life
Summary of Complaint
1. Ryan McCarron complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that That’s Life breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) in an article headlined “PARK 'N' RIDE My shock at who RAT BONKED in his VAN”, published on 22 June 2017.
2. The article was a woman’s first-person account of her relationship with the complainant. It reported that she had looked after him after he had an accident, and that he then began to engage in sexual relationships with other women. It described how the woman discovered the complainant’s infidelity through contact with these women. The article included two unpixelated photographs of the complainant, including one in hospital, and a photograph of his van, and used his first name throughout. It included a footnote which stated that the publication had put the allegation of infidelity to the complainant, who had replied “Yeah, you could put it like that”.
3. The complainant said that the publication had not contacted him prior to publication. He also said that the article invaded his privacy by using his name and the unpixelated photographs of him without his consent.
4. The magazine said that it had taken care to verify the story with the complainant by calling him on two occasions. It considered that it had sufficient corroborating evidence provided by the woman to support the story. It said that the photographs used were owned by the woman, and revealed no inherently private information about him. It said that, while the articles reported information about the complainant’s sexual relationships, this was justified by the woman’s right to freedom of expression.
Relevant Code provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
Clause 2 (Privacy)
i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s investigation, the publication and the complainant resolved the matter privately.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 20/06/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 30/10/2017