The former assistant night editor at Metro, Patrick Edwards, has branded Associated Newspapers’ decision to sack him after he took home a cardboard cut-out of James Bond as ‘farcical”.
Edwards was dismissed for serious misconduct after a dispute over him taking the life-size promotional cut-out of actor Daniel Craig from the office to give to his girlfriend’s 16-year-old daughter, who is an avid Bond fan.
He claimed that the cut-out had no monetary value and that he had been told by a member of the features staff that he could take it.
After the Craig cut-out went missing, the company issued an email to staff saying CCTV footage would be checked and that the police could also be brought in if it was not returned.
After revealing that he had taken the cut-out, Edwards admitted that he sent an email to a company secretary telling her to ‘piss off’for suggesting he bid for a new cut-out of the Bond star that she had spotted on auction website eBay.
Edwards then claims he and Metro editor Kenny Campbell were involved in an argument, in which he says he was accused of stealing, and which resulted in Edwards walking out of work. He said he apologised to both Campbell and the secretary concerned afterwards.
Edwards said: ‘I also travelled all the way back to Plymouth and parcelled up the Daniel Craig stand – complete with a picture of my girlfriend’s daughter standing next to it looking as pleased as punch when I gave it to her – and posted it back to Metro.
‘Apparently it was needed for an important advertising presentation, despite the fact that when I came across it, it was folded in half and sitting in a chair to replace an absent member of staff.”
In a letter to Edwards, Associated Newspapers said: ‘You have accepted using abusive language in an email for which you apologised but disputed the other allegations.
‘You claimed the item you removed, after a misunderstanding with a fellow employee, was of no monetary value and that the editor Kenny Campbell acted unreasonably during a meeting arranged to ask you to return it.
‘You further explained that you left work because you felt angry and stressed about the way you had been treated.”
In the letter, the company explained to Edwards that unless he appealed the decision, he would be dismissed for ‘refusal to obey a reasonable instruction from senior management to return an item of company property; unauthorised absence [because he left work without permission]; misconduct and using abusive language in an email.”
In response to the letter, Edwards said: ‘I realise I overreacted and should not have sworn at a fellow member of staff in an email or walked out of the editor’s office. But I was being accused of a crime that I was not guilty of. It’s farcical that I should have been fired.”