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Rebekah Vardy versus Sun IPSO ruling

Vardy was previously accused in the "Wagatha Christie" case of leaking stories to The Sun.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Rebekah Vardy complained to press regulator IPSO about a Sun story interpreting one of her Instagram posts, months after losing her “Wagatha Christie” libel case which involved the newspaper.

Vardy, the wife of Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy, was accused in that court case of having a “habitual practice” of leaking stories to The Sun and having a close relationship with its journalists. Rooney successfully defended herself after her claim that Vardy had been leaking stories about her to The Sun was found to be “substantially true”.

In March, less than a year later, Vardy took objection to a story that suggested she had mocked footballer Kyle Walker’s wife Annie Kilner after the news of her husband’s “flashing shame” broke.

Vardy posted on Instagram: “The gift that keeps on giving,” alongside laughing emojis. She also wrote: “That’s a little embarrassing.”

The story said she “appeared to make fun of [Kilner’s] turmoil” and quoted an unnamed source who said Kilner was “livid that Becky has got involved yet again with something that has nothing to do with her”. It also claimed the pair had been “at loggerheads since Becky dragged her into the Wagatha Christie libel battle”.

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Vardy complained to IPSO that her post was not about Kilner or Walker, and that she had not been contacted in advance of the article to explain that.

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The Sun said in response that the article did not state as fact that the post had been about Kilner and that, as it posted the full text of the Instagram post with its meaning presented as speculative, it did not need to contact Vardy in advance.

Nonetheless, after Vardy went to IPSO, The Sun offered to publish the following correction in print and online as a footnote: “We have been asked to clarify Rebekah Vardy’s position that she was not ‘making fun’ of Kyle Walker’s wife Annie in the Instagram post the article references. The text has been amended accordingly.” It also offered to amend the online article to add Vardy’s denial.

Vardy did not accept The Sun’s offer and said she wanted the article removed before she would discuss the wording of a correction and apology.

IPSO, however, said The Sun had fairly offered to put Vardy’s position on record and that the article had anyway been “speculative, given the use of the words ‘appeared’ and where this position was attributed to a source”. “In these circumstances, putting the complainant’s position that the source had misinterpreted the post was an appropriate remedy.”

The regulator also said The Sun’s offer was sufficiently prompt and prominent, and did not uphold Vardy’s complaint.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • Head of Department/Function
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  • Other
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