Ruling

Resolution Statement – 10170-22 Sandiford v ok.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      8th September 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy, 3 Harassment

Resolution Statement – 10170-22 Sandiford v ok.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Sophie Sandiford complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that ok.co.uk breached Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 3 (Harassment) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Gogglebox's Sophie Sandiford hits the nail salon after loved-up stroll with boyfriend”, published on 26th May 2022.

2. The online article reported that the complainant, a “Gogglebox star”, had been seen “heading out for a nail appointment in a bright orange puffer jacket in Blackpool after she was seen putting on a loved-up display with her boyfriend”. The article went on to say that she had been photographed while heading to the nail salon, and the article contained a photograph of her on this occasion.

3. The complainant said that the article had breached Clause 2 as, over a number of weeks, a photographer had been following her when she left her home. The complainant said that on this occasion the photographer had followed her to an appointment and photographed her without her permission while at a nail salon. She said that while it was a public space, she was photographed without her permission, and considered that she would have an expectation of privacy while going about her everyday life. The complainant added that the photographer had parked outside her home where she also considered she should have an expectation of privacy.

4. The complainant also said that there had been a breach of Clause 3 as the photographer had been in persistent pursuit of her and had photographed her on several occasions without her permission or knowledge. She reiterated that the photographer had parked outside her home and followed her from her home.  She had not had the opportunity to approach the photographer and ask him to desist from following her, as on the one occasion she had noticed him, he had ducked down and hidden, and then driven away.

5. The publication said that the agency and photographer had assured it that they would never have intended to cause the complainant any distress and the agency had confirmed to the publication that it had reminded the photographer of their obligations when obtaining and supplying content.

6. In order to resolve the complaint, the publication offered to remove the online article in full. It also confirmed that the agency had confirmed that the photographs had been removed from their system.

7. The complainant said that this was not sufficient to resolve her complaint.

Relevant Code Provisions

Clause 2 (Privacy)*

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for their private and family life, home, physical and mental health, and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. In considering an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information and the extent to which the material complained about is already in the public domain or will become so.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 3 (Harassment)*

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

iii)  Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.

Mediated Outcome

8. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

9. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to mark the photos as not to be used again; send a legal notice to editorial staff to notify them of the complaint and the complainant’s wish not to be photographed near her home; and to remove the article in full in order to resolve the complaint.

10. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction if the publication also confirmed in writing that they would no longer accept or publish paparazzi photographs of her or her family that were taken near the vicinity of their homes.

11. The publication was happy to resolve the complaint on this basis.

12. 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: 01/06/2022

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/08/2022