Ruling

Resolution Statement – 14832-23 Hyman v Sunday Mirror

    • Date complaint received

      18th May 2023

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock

Resolution Statement – 14832-23 Hyman v Sunday Mirror

 

Summary of Complaint

1. Mathew Hyman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sunday Mirror breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “CASHING IN ON MISOGNY”, published on 15 January 2023.

2. The article reported that the complainant was “an online influencer who preaches misogynist propaganda” and was “one of millions motivated by Andrew Tate” – it later described Mr Tate as the complainant’s “idol”. The article reported that the complainant promoted “toxic masculinity” through videos and podcasts uploaded online, with his “bizarre advice to blokes include[ing]: give your girlfriend anxiety by threatening to sleep around”; and “ban women from apps like Instagram because they will use them to cheat”. It also stated that the complainant “reckons women who go clubbing are only out to cheat and they should stay at home to raise children” and that “only those with a 'high-value man' never feel the compulsion to stray, whereas men have a 'biological imperative' to sleep around”. The article also included the complainant’s comments to a reporter and said that he had been “suspended” by his employer – the Department for Work and Pension – because of the publication’s findings. The article included a statement from the Department and was accompanied by a photograph of the complainant.

3. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format under the headline “EXCLUSIVE: DWP worker unmasked as Andrew Tate disciple preaching toxic misogyny online” and went on to describe the complainant as a “Tate fanboy”.

4. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate and misleading, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy). He said that the article misrepresented his position as well as the comments he made during the interview. The complainant denied that he had advised his followers to “give your girlfriend anxiety by threatening to sleep around”; to “ban women from apps such as Instagram because they will use them to cheat”; that “women who go clubbing are only doing so to cheat, and that they should instead stay at home to raise children”; and that men had a “biological imperative” to sleep around.  He also said that the article was inaccurate to describe him as a “Tate fanboy” and to report that he idolised the man. Further, the complainant said that the article was inaccurate to report that he “was suspended” from his job.

5. The complainant said that the article represented an unjustified intrusion into his private life, in breach of Clause 2. He said that the article identified his place of work, after he had explicitly asked for this information not to be included. He further said that the publication of the article caused him distress, in breach of Clause 4.

6. The publication did not accept a breach of the Editors’ Code. It maintained that the article gave an accurate summary of the complainant’s comments on social media as well as those provided to its reporter during the interview. To support its position, it provided several examples of the videos posted by the complainant on social media. Further, the publication did not accept that the article was inaccurate to describe the complainant as a “Tate fanboy” where he had confirmed to the reporter that the videos posted by this individual had been an “influence” on him; he had previously posted videos online discussing Mr Tate and “what it meant to be a man”; and where he followed a Mr Tate “fanpage” on Instagram.

7. While the publication accepted that the complainant had expressed a wish for his job in government not to be disclosed, it argued that there was a public interest in reporting this information given his position and the nature of the claims made. It did not accept a breach of Clause 2 or Clause 4.

8. Notwithstanding this, upon receipt of the complaint from IPSO, and in an effort to resolve the complaint, and as a gesture of goodwill, the publication amended the online article to report that the complainant’s advice “includes: give your girlfriend anxiety by making her worry that you're sleeping around”. It also removed reference to the word “ban” with regard to his advice about the use of Instagram. 

Relevant Clause Provisions

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 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 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

Mediated Outcome

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

10. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered, as a gesture of goodwill, to further amend the online article by removing the terms “misogynist” and “Tate disciple” from the headline and the following disputed statements from the text of the article: “Hyman’s bizarre advice to blokes includes: give your girlfriend anxiety by making her worry that you're sleeping around”; “Hyman is employed by the Department for Work and Pensions – who last night suspended him over our findings”; and “Hyman has said of his idol”.

11. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

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:  04/02/23

Date complaint concluded by IPSO:  05/05/23