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July 7, 2022updated 07 Oct 2022 7:09am

IPSO upholds Katie Hopkins complaint against Cornwall Live over claim she was thrown out of pub

By Charlotte Tobitt

Katie Hopkins has won a complaint against a regional news website in Cornwall that claimed she had been ejected from a pub.

Cornwall Live reported on a speech the ex-Mail Online columnist and LBC presenter gave at an anti-vaccine protest in Truro in January and noted she “was recently ejected from a pub in Portreath after being ‘very rude’ to staff”.

Hopkins said she had only attended one pub in Portreath on her trip to Cornwall, where she had taken selfies with locals and the owners were “very happy to have her”.

She provided press regulator IPSO with an email from the pub’s official email address stating she had not been rude and they had not ejected her.

Cornwall Live, a Reach regional site, claimed it had spoken to the pub landlord over the phone and provided notes of the conversation showing he said Hopkins had been “extremely rude” and that staff had “warned her she would have to leave”, eventually ejecting her.

The landlord said he had not recognised Hopkins at first, but did so after being shown a photo of her in another pub the next day.

Cornwall Live spoke to the pub landlord again after receiving the IPSO complaint and he reiterated what he had previously said, adding that he believed Hopkins had gone in with around 20 people for her daughter’s 18th birthday and had “repeatedly requested service rather rudely”.

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He said that although she was not physically ejected from the pub she was told she “knew where the door was” and it was suggested she “use it”, according to the IPSO ruling.

Hopkins said in response that the landlord was clearly not describing her as she had only attended one pub on her trip – the one that provided the complimentary statement – while none of her children were 18, none of them had a birthday while in Cornwall and she had not attended a pub with 20 people.

Cornwall Live removed the offending sentence on the same day it was first contacted by Hopkins and added a clarification that the statement was “disputed by Ms Hopkins who says that the owners were delighted to have her in their pub”.

Hopkins pursued the complaint to IPSO because she said this was insufficient and wanted an apology, but the regulator said this was a satisfactory resolution with “due promptness”.

However it did rule that the original sentence amounted to two breaches of Clause 1 (accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice because it failed to take care not to present misleading information and had presented the claim as a matter of established fact rather than an unverified allegation even though it was relying on a single account from one person, the landlord, who had not recognised Hopkins at the time of the alleged encounter.

The regulator also raised concerns that the outlet had not put the claim to Hopkins before publication.

IPSO said: “The committee could not reconcile the two conflicting accounts, and therefore was unable to make a finding as to the true situation. However, where the allegation was mispresented as a matter of established fact, and this was significant, given the allegation of poor behaviour, the publication was required to correct the misleading claim.”

Read about more recent IPSO and legal rulings on Press Gazette’s regulatory round-up page.

Picture: Reuters/Phil Noble

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