Daily Mail forced to apologise for publishing defamatory ‘extremist’ slur

Last month the Mail Online published a nasty, vindictive article, believed to have been sourced from the loathsome Countryside Alliance.

Written by ‘journalist’ Vivek Chaudhary, it was claimed that Police Detective Superintendent Lou Hubble, Head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) had featured in a video with me and I was described as an “anti-hunt extremist“, as well as an “animal rights extremist“, five times throughout the article.

Here was the original headline:

It’s quite clear that the use of the term “anti-hunt extremist” was used in this context to create a [wholly false] impression of someone who advocates violent and/or illegal action. Add in the words ‘Police chief’ and ‘House of Commons’ and you’ve got a heady cocktail for hysteria.

I complained about the description and asked to see the evidence that’d been used to justify the use of this ‘extremist’ label but I didn’t get anywhere with either the journalist or his editor. After ten days I threatened to escalate my complaint to legal action for alleged defamation – and yes, I had every intention of taking this forward. This resulted in an almost immediate response from the editor, who didn’t apologise but did remove every description of me being an ‘extremist’ and instead referred to me as a wildlife campaigner and a conservation campaigner in a revised version of the article. Here was the new headline:

That was good but it still wasn’t an apology. The editor tried to dissuade me from seeking one because it would mean he would have to refer my complaint to his senior editorial team. I told him I didn’t think it was unreasonable to seek a written apology given the libellous commentary that had been published.

He did pass on my complaint and, presumably having realised they were in an indefensible position, the very next day I received a full written apology from a senior managing editor and the following footnote was added to the (revised) online article:

This is a good result and hopefully those who are routinely the subject of defamatory online commentary will be encouraged to take similar action in future.

However, although the article had included defamatory slurs against me, I was not the direct target of attack. Lou Hubble was the intended victim, presumably because she’s been working to make life difficult for the raptor-killing criminals within the game shooting industry. As a result of this spiteful article in the Mail Online, and the Countryside Alliance making a formal complaint to the Police about Lou’s ‘behaviour’, Det Sup Hubble has found herself at the centre of an investigation by the Police’s professional standards unit.

This is absolutely outrageous, especially as it was based on inaccurate and defamatory accusations. So a hard-working, dedicated and career-focused wildlife cop, whose job it is to develop partnership working relationships with everybody (including the Countryside Alliance!) decided to participate, in her own time, in a video with over 30 other wildlife campaigners and supporters, including BASC(!!), now faces the threat of disciplinary action, and all because the Daily Mail chose to publish some nasty and inaccurate accusations believed to originate from the Countryside Alliance.

The Mail’s subsequent retractions, amendments and apology will be forwarded to the Police’s professional standards unit and hopefully this will draw their investigation in to Lou Hubble to an immediate halt as they’ll see the complaint for the malicious, squalid witch-hunt it so obviously is.

14 Responses to “Daily Mail forced to apologise for publishing defamatory ‘extremist’ slur”

  1. 1 Paul V Irving
    February 3, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Good one! all you need now (and Lou Hubble) is an apology from the Countryside Areliars and Tim “Mr nasty “Bonner but I’ll not be holding my breath. The whole thing is utterly appalling and the worst of gutter “journalism”

  2. 2 Keith Dancey
    February 3, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Well done Ruth. You are a star!

    Have you also complained to your MP about all this?

    Do you have any contacts in the House of Lords? Get questions asked in the House? After all, this concerns serious organised crime.

    All the best.

  3. 3 Jonathan Wallace
    February 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Well done for sticking to your guns and forcing the Mail to retract its outrageous slur and publicly apologise. Hopefully the police will now recognise that Set Superintendent Hubble has done absolutely nothing wrong and will drop their investigation of her.

  4. 4 Ashley
    February 3, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    A disgraceful piece of journalism in the first place and well done for fighting back! BE SURE TO CONTACT YOUR MP, very very important!

  5. 5 George M
    February 3, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Well done Ruth. I hope Lou has the complaint which has been raised against her dropped immediately.
    Sadly this gives the rest of us yet another insight as to how any complaint against those deemed to be associated with compelling the shooting Lobby to act within the law is not investigated prior to negative publicity being splashed across certain media outlets.
    This type of behaviour simply reinforces the rest of the false and misleading information from a devious lobby that uses “first impressions” to insert falsehoods in the minds of the uninformed.
    Nasty stuff.

  6. 6 Paul
    February 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    She should sue. Even though it’s gutter journalism it’s still damaging. An apology isn’t enough. I’d contribute to a crowd fund to support her legal fees.

  7. 7 Lizzybusy
    February 3, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Very well done Ruth. Hopefully the Hate Mail will be a little more careful with future ‘stories’ provided by the Countryside Alliance.

    What a difference those changes have made to the story and headline!

    Senior police officer dances with wildlife crime campaigners in a tribute video.


  8. 8 Stacy
    February 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Ruth. Gutter journalists deserve to be taken to task for every sensational exaggerated untrue sentence they write online, on air and in print. No doubt they hold their breath every time they publish a non story (sorry) on a slow news day wondering if in fact anyone will firstly, notice and then have the fortitude, the finances and the time to call them on their shit. Well done to you. And they call themselves journalists, more like creative writers. Let us know if we can help in any way.

  9. 9 Coop
    February 3, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Well done for standing up to these worthless scum, Ruth. Although I doubt very much that the average Daily Blackshirt reader gives a flying f*** whether or not their paper publishes lies and distortions.

  10. 10 Les Wallace
    February 3, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Well done Ruth, I know that it’s for Lou rather than yourself you’ve been taking this forward so I’m especially pleased you’ve got a result because you deserve it on several levels. It’s impossible for any reasonable and decent human being to just shrug their shoulders and turn away when they become aware of not only how cruelly raptors are being persecuted, but also the efforts the truly vile are making to hurt the good people trying to prevent that. The silver lining is that every regular person that becomes savvy to the despicable antics of the CA and their ilk will be your friend not theirs.

    • 11 Gareth Huw Lewis
      February 6, 2020 at 11:24 am

      Well done, once again Ruth for your hard work in exposing the slur presented by the venomous gutter press against a good dedicated senior police officer as well as against yourself-the Daily Mail should be ashamed of themselves and hopefully the Police Force will be forced to wake up and see this appalling action by this newspaper for what it is-as for the Countryside Alliance-well, what do you expect. News paper editors and their journalists need to learn manners and decency-maybe I am asking too much of some of them!

  11. 12 Ian Mortimer
    February 6, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    The Mail has long been the gutter press. A wonder anyone reads (!) it.

    • 13 Marco McGinty
      February 7, 2020 at 2:48 am

      I believe it is the go-to rag for racists and xenophobes, and those with a complete aversion to the truth.

      It’s no wonder that the Daily Mail and the shooting industry are such close bedfellows!

      Well done, Ruth!

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