“I Know The Team Are Dreading Her Return”

Guido’s report about Kay Burley and Beth Rigby’s fallout has triggered well-sourced whispers of a mutiny in the ranks over at Sky News, almost all of which revolve around Kay Burley. According to one well-informed source, not everyone is looking forward to Kay Burley’s imminent return to the screen as much as Guido: “I know the team are dreading her return” was the comment. Another producer confides that her return is being anticipated “unexcitedly”. Aside from the revelation earlier this week of a former producer accusing her of harassment and bullying, it seems her ire isn’t just reserved for off-screen talent; a fellow well-known presenter says “The woman is a lunatic… F**k her. She is a nightmare”Staff may be hoping this resolves soon, given Kay’s set to return to her presenting job on the 7th.

Looking for clues as to who’s in and who’s out, Guido spots a number of conspicuous omissions from Kay’s online social circle. Of the channel’s top on-screen talent and political team, six follow Burley’s account: Rob Powell, Sam Coates, Tom Rayner, Joe Pike, Tamara Cohen and Samantha Washington. It’s notable, however, that Burley doesn’t return the following favour with Powell, Coates and Rayner…

Who is absent entirely? Sarah-Jane Mee, Stephen Dixon,* Niall Paterson and Adam Boulton. Guido has heard tell of more than a few personal dramas going on behind the scenes. Social media ostracism sounds like just the half of it… 

*Stephen Dixon has deleted his social media whilst we were preparing this article. Kay Burley had blocked him on Twitter.

mdi-timer 27 May 2021 @ 17:43 27 May 2021 @ 17:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Nick Clegg Lobbies to Block Paul Dacre from Ofcom Job

Paul Dacre’s quest to become Ofcom Chairman appears to have been thwarted by none other than the former Deputy Prime Minister. Nick Clegg, who now rakes it in as Facebook’s Vice‑President for Global Affairs and Communications, has reportedly spearheaded the company’s lobbying campaign alongside Google to block Dacre from being offered the job, with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden now wanting to start the selection process “afresh“. Dacre somehow managing to unite the BBC and Big Tech against a mutual threat…

It’s alleged that the panel in charge of vetting candidates turned against Dacre over fears he’d ‘rock the boat‘ with his reforming plans – particularly over the BBC’s financial management – and his criticism of Big Tech’s handling of data privacy. Looks like they’d rather just give the job to a yes-man…

mdi-timer 27 May 2021 @ 12:33 27 May 2021 @ 12:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Arlene Foster Wins £125,000 Damages from Celebrity Doctor over Affair Allegation

It looks like Arlene Foster will be finishing her time as First Minister on a high after defeating Embarrassing Bodies doctor Christian Jessen in court, over his claims in December 2019 that she’d been having an extra-marital affair. The lefty celebrity doctor has been ordered to pay £125,000 for the defamatory tweet. There’s only one embarrassed body in this case…

Arlene Foster is due to step down as DUP leader tomorrow, and as First Minister of Nothern Ireland at the end of June. Thankfully Dr Christian’s just sorted out a luxury post-job holiday for her…

UPDATE: M’learned friend points out that it is £125,000 plus Foster’s legal costs and Jessen’s own legal costs. So likely the total bill will be closer to £500,000!

mdi-timer 27 May 2021 @ 11:46 27 May 2021 @ 11:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cummings Squirms Over Requests for Press Briefing Transparency

Cummings finally came unstuck two hours into his committee hearing, as Greg Clark pressed him to release all texts between him and journalists. Cummings told the committee that the journalist he spent the most time talking to in 2020 was the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, with Guido revealing meetings between the two last October. Dom told the committee that while he was working 100 hour weeks in 2020, only around 1% of that was spent briefing hacks. Clark pointed out a lot of information could be briefed in an hour…

Cummings claimed he had “close to zero” meetings with the press, however his register of interests shows this to be far from the case:

  • Katy Searle and Fran Unsworth, BBC – 04.02.2020
  • Laura Kuenssberg, BBC – 27.02.2020
  • Victoria Newton & Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun – 03.03.2020
  • Francis Elliot, The Times – 14.07.2020
  • Chris Evans, The Telegraph – 04.08.2020
  • Tim Davies, BBC – 14.09.2020
  • Chris Evans & Gordon Rayner, The Telegraph – 17.09.2020
  • Robert Peston, ITV – 18.09.2020
  • John Witherow, The Times – 08.10.2020
  • Laura Kuenssberg, BBC – 15.10.2020

When asked whether he would release all texts between him and journalists – as he has been more than happy to do with messages between him and people in government – Cummings visibly squirmed, avoiding any such commitment. Peston and Walters must have been terrified…

mdi-timer 26 May 2021 @ 11:53 26 May 2021 @ 11:53 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
EXCLUSIVE: Former Sky News Producer Accuses Kay Burley of Harassment and Bullying, She Accuses Him of Intimidation

A fierce battle between Kay Burley and a former Sky News producer is underway after he accused her of harassment and bullying. Ahead of her impending return in a matter of a few week’s time, the producer accuses her of having a “#MeToo moment”. She has instructed lawyers to try and gag him whilst counter-accusing him of defaming and denigrating her…

Jacob Diamond – who is former breakfast television star Anne Diamond’s son – has published a letter from Burley’s lawyers, Russells, in which her team accuse him of an “unprovoked and malicious campaign to harass, intimidate and smear our client”, causing her “considerable distress”:

“Our client has never “bullied” you nor acted in any similar or like manner to you nor any other individuals.” 

Guido has also seen correspondence from Diamond’s lawyer at One Essex Court to Gill Penlington – Sky’s senior executive producer – which says he has “seen evidence of one of your top presenters harassing him”. Kay’s diva personality is widely felt at Sky. Guido’s sure she’ll have something to say about this…

mdi-timer 25 May 2021 @ 17:52 25 May 2021 @ 17:52 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Bailiffs Sent to Unite, Skwawkbox Blogger Faces Bankruptcy After Failure to Pay Legal Fees

Enforcement action is once again been taken against Unite and Skwawkbox, after both failed to cough up the £680,000 accrued in legal fees following former Labour MP Anna Turley’s libel victory against them in December 2019. This after they were already forced to fork out £75,000 to Turley personally… 

Turley sued Unite and Skwawkbox’s Steve Walker after Walker ran an article accusing her of joining the union using a 50p membership rate intended for the unemployed, with Turley claiming Walker and Unite damaged her reputation and misused her private information. The expensive High Court hearing found in her favour.

Now it turns out the legal bills Unite and Skwawkbox racked up in their failed defence are still unpaid, so bailiffs will be knocking at the union’s offices today. Turley’s lawyers have also commenced bankruptcy proceedings against Walker. Of course this all reflects on the judgement of Howard Beckett, who currently is the union’s legal officer standing as the hard-left’s candidate for general secretary…

mdi-timer 25 May 2021 @ 11:56 25 May 2021 @ 11:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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