A Sun journalist just redefined rock bottom to get a scoop on the Grenfell Tower disaster

The Sun fireball
James Wright

A Sun journalist seems to have redefined rock bottom to get a scoop on the Grenfell Tower disaster. King’s College Hospital will file a complaint to the press watchdog after a Sun reporter allegedly impersonated a relative of a victim in order to get an interview with him.

A spokeswoman for King’s College Hospital NHS foundation trust said:

Following an incident at King’s College hospital, we have formally written to The Sun and will be informing the Independent Press Standards Organisation [IPSO]

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Editors’ code

The Guardian reports that The Sun was trying to interview Mario Gomes. Gomes is a Grenfell Tower resident who dashed back into the flames to save his 12-year-old daughter. If they did impersonate a family member, the journalist has allegedly broken clause 8 of the IPSO editors’ code, which reads:

Journalists must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue inquiries.

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The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to inquiries about individuals in hospitals or similar institutions

King’s College was among six other London hospitals to treat over 70 victims of the 24-storey fire. News UK, which owns The Sun, claims it did have a legitimate interview set up with Gomes. But it has been alleged that a different journalist turned up and tried to pass himself off as a relative of Gomes.

Given The Sun‘s history of playing loose with basic moral standards, people reacted angrily to the allegation. A Twitter user said:

The Sun deserves no place in society and its actions are a stain on this country. The fucking thunderwazzocks

Another sent a message to the public:

Reminder to the British people: this paper hates you

A third didn’t mince his words:

They’ll never change. Pure scum. The very lowest level of filth and people still buy it.

Denial

But The Sun denies the allegation:

The Sun wants to make it clear that no reporter has ‘impersonated’ any family members.

The Sun was in contact with one of the people injured in the Grenfell fire, who provided a detailed phone interview for the newspaper. We then visited him in hospital to get a further interview and photos.

On arrival the Sun reporter and photographer made hospital staff aware that they were present and had been in touch with the contact. However, we were informed the contact had changed his mind on the interview and The Sun promptly left the hospital. We completely refute any accusation that our employees acted inappropriately.

Sensitivity

In the past, The Sun has come under heavy fire for insensitive behaviour while reporting on tragedies. Recently, the tabloid was also lambasted for a front page depicting an image of the youngest identified victim of the Manchester bombing (eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos) next to her killer.

If a Sun journalist has now been impersonating a victim’s relative, the newspaper really has redefined rock bottom. And for The Sun, that’s saying something.

Get Involved

– If you are concerned about anyone from Grenfell Tower, call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197

– Support the Justice for Grenfell protest.

– You can furthermore donate to the Grenfell Tower Appeal

Take action with Stop Funding Hate.

– You can also read and support independent media outlets that hold the powerful to account:

The CanaryMedia DiversifiedNovara MediaCorporate WatchRed PepperNew InternationalistCommon SpaceMedia LensBella CaledoniaVox PoliticalEvolve PoliticsReal MediaReel NewsSTRIKE! magazine,The Bristol CableThe MeteorSalford StarThe Ferret.

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