Fleet Street Blues settles with PR firm over Tulisa story

The journalism blog Fleet Street Blues appears to be back online after reaching a settlement with PR firm Hackford Jones over a story claiming the PR agency lied to the press over allegations pop singer Tulisa appeared in an internet sex tape.

Press Gazette revealed how the website went offline in March after Hackford Jones took libel action over the article headlined "Tulisa's sextape and the ethics of PR".

Hackford Jones founder Simon Jones said this morning: 'We have reached a settlement with Fleet Street Blues and they have re-opened the site and posted an apology last night."

The Fleet Street Blues apology reads: 'The posting referred to two reported statements by Tulisa Contostavlos through her PR agents, Hackford Jones. The first statement was made in August 2011 stating Tulisa's belief that a reported ‘sex tape' was a fake, and a second statement which she made on 22 March 2012 confirming that a ‘sex tape' which had emerged was genuine.

'In the posting we wrongly stated that the first statement had been made only shortly before the second statement. We now accept that we dated the first statement inaccurately, and that it was actually made 7 months earlier than was claimed in the posting.

'We also accept that the first statement was made when Tulisa had not seen any tape and that she did not believe that it was genuine, and that Hackford Jones repeated Tulisa's denial in good faith.

'Hackford Jones are concerned that this error implied that they had made the first statement with the aim of deliberately misleading the public. This was certainly not our intention.

'If any reader did in fact draw this impression from the posting we regret this and hope that this apology sets the record straight. We state categorically that we did not intend the posting to suggest that Hackford Jones had deliberately misled the public.

'We apologise to Hackford Jones if any readers thought we had suggested otherwise. We also apologise again to them for the inaccuracy in dating the statements."

While the journalism blog is now back online there is no access to other postings on the website. The day after the blog post appeared visitors to Fleet Street Blues were told it was open to invited readers only.

After the article first appeared, Jones told Press Gazette: 'There's been so much misreporting around this case which is funny in a way because in this age of Leveson when you think that everyone should be fact checking, even today people are still running stories based on hearsay.

'We very rarely take legal action in our profession. There seems to be so much rubbish written about this Tulisa story that you do get to the point where you think, ‘I'm sorry I have to set the record straight.'"

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

 

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