Cathy Newman vs Harvey Price: What Channel Four *Didn’t* Apologise For

Today Channel Four disgracefully apologized to Streatham Mosque for Cathy Newman’s correct reporting, proven on CCTV, that she was ushered out of a mosque she explained she had come to visit.

Newman received multiple death threats and organized hatred on Twitter from supporters of the mosque (though they are not to blame for that) calling her a “bitch” a “whore” a “ho” and saying “I hope you die” and “I hope you and your family are killed”.

Channel Four in no way defended their female journalist from these attacks but they did issue a fatuous apology for Newman’s wholly correct use of the word ‘usher’ meaning to show, guide, or point as well as to physically escort.

usher j

However, Channel Four’s willingness to overlook the vile threats given to its female anchor are wholly on a par for what they WON’T apologize for. David Abrahams refused to apologize for this “joke” about disabled Harvey Price by Frankie Boyle – even when OFCOM ruled against him. Not only that, Abrahams personally, himself, OKed the “joke” he refused to apologize for:

“I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her”.

So… debate over whether ‘usher’ means to show or point out = apology, demeaning an autistic and multiply disabled child with an incest “joke” for ratings = no apology.

Channel Four’s actions in the Newman matter are misogynist. They are a disgrace to broadcast journalism.

The reason I remember so clearly David Abrahams refusal to apologize to Harvey, even after the OFCOM ruling, is he refused to do so to me.

Channel Four is looking more and more like a space where it unsafe for women to work. The liberal veneer is instantly abandoned when it comes to the health, safety and journalistic integrity of women.

Read what was apparently much less bad than Newman’s grammatically correct use of “usher”:

Q69 Mrs Mensch: I have to say, Mr Abraham, I have been impressed by your evidence throughout the session. I was not aware of the specifics until I saw the evidence in front of me. The second joke, I do not know if I can repeat it. Can I repeat it in this context? Is it unparliamentary language?

Chair: I think most people are already aware of it.

David Abraham: I do not think there is any need to.

Mrs Mensch: I think there is, actually, because the second joke is, “I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her”

. This is a disabled little boy that we are talking about. I am bewildered that you can sit here and say that it is challenging political correctness and that you will not apologise to the little boy for having put him on a television programme in this context. Surely, no cultural remit could ever possibly justify such a joke. While Katie Price and her ex-husband may be absolutely fair game and I would be the first person to accept that, we are talking about a disabled child, and a joke about a disabled child raping his mother. Do you not wish to take this opportunity to apologise to the child, Mr Abraham?

David Abraham: As we have said, we absolutely regret the joke being distributed out of context and out of the-

Q70 Mrs Mensch: In what context, sir, could it possibly have been justified? What context would justify a joke about a little disabled boy “fucking his mother”? You say that it is out of context and that is the regrettable issue. I put it to you that there is no possible context that could ever have justified that joke and I would urge you-as I did with the BBC in the Fogel massacre-not just to reflexively defend, because you stick up for your channel, a clearly appalling decision. Will you not take this opportunity to apologise to the little boy?

David Abraham: As I say, we do regret and will learn from the experience of this satire being taken out of context.

Q71 Mrs Mensch: You are not answering my question, sir. What context would have justified it?

David Abraham: I am trying to argue in the context of the balance between delivering our remit and the context for this satire, which was against the context of Katie Price in her own television show in which her family was portrayed in certain ways that Frankie Boyle was seeking to satirise. I was convinced by the arguments of the commissioning team that the intention was to reflect on a media construct that had its own context, because there had been media discussions around Katie Price and how the family had been portrayed in the TV series that she appeared in over many years. There is no doubt about the fact that this was only ever intended to be humour in that context and satire in that context. I have made that very clear in my open letter to Katie Price.

Q72 Mrs Mensch: Your argument then is that in the context of satirising celebrity culture, had it been delivered within context, the joke would have been passable-a disabled little boy raping his mother. By name, he is named in this joke. He is named Harvey. A disabled boy raping his mother, you believe that context would have justified that joke then.

David Abraham: The evidence that was shared with me by the commissioning team went into a whole story in the media that had preceded and surrounded that joke, which I could certainly take you through after the session; I could share with you the context for it. The context was to satirise a certain story around Katie Price and her celebrity status and how the family had been debated in the media; the followers of Frank Boyle understood that context.

Mrs Mensch: I find that completely appalling.

One comment

  1. SlingTrebuchet · February 12, 2015

    Cathy Newman went to the wrong mosque
    “It later emerged Newman had actually gone to the wrong location, and her Channel 4 colleagues were waiting for her 15 minutes away at a mosque that was taking part in the open day.”

    Inside she met a guy who thougt she was looking for a local church and indicated directions.
    She walked out on her own across the courtyard. CCTV shows her entering, talking and leaving un-ushered/escorted.
    After some apparent frustrated walking about she was given directions by others on the street
    – to the right mosque, which was a about 15 minutes walk away

    Huff Post has details…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/05/cathy-newman-mosque_n_6620026.html?1423219298

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