The Sun has confounded reports that it was scrapping its Page Three topless photographs by bringing them back today.
The Times reported on Tuesday that its sister paper “will no longer feature topless models on page 3 after quietly dropping one of the most controversial traditions in British journalism”.
The Guardian was also emphatic in its report that Page Three had gone for good saying that the paper “has scrapped Page 3’s topless women after 44 years, delighting the legion of critics who have branded the photos of bare-breasted models sexist, offensive and anachronistic".
It said: “Insiders said the decision has been taken to kill off the controversial feature quietly but that the feature would continue online.”
And it quoted a “senior executive” who said: “This comes from high up, from New York."
The BBC and other media organisations also went big on the story over the past few days with many politicians welcoming the apparent move.
The Sun said underneath a topless Page Three photograph today: "Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth.
"We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us."
The paper's front page said: "We've had a mammary lapse."
The Sun’s PR Dylan Sharpe has been critical of coverage of the dropping of Page Three pointing out that he is repeatedly refused to confirm or deny the reports.
Many media outlets, including the BBC and Press Gazette, reported the news and attributed it to the paper’s News UK sister title, The Times.
On Tuesday, Sharpe said that the reports were based on “wild speculation”.
Last night, he said on Twitter: “I said that it was speculation and not to trust reports by people unconnected to The Sun. A lot of people are about to look very silly…”
And he later tweeted:
— Dylan Sharpe (@dylsharpe) January 22, 2015