Columnists: striking similarities
Bristol Evening Post editor Mike Lowe has sent a legal letter to Mark Rossiter, editor-in-chief of the North Wales Evening Leader series, about striking similarities between a Leader column and Lowe’s controversial Devil’s Advocate column.
Copyright to Devil’s Advocate, written under the pseudonym Barry Beelzebub, is owned by Lowe. It runs in the Evening Post, on a media website and in the Peterborough Evening Telegraph. Lowe has turned down requests for it to be used elsewhere.
But last Thursday, he and journalists who had seen the website were astonished to see in the Leader, under the strapline Peeping Tom, a column containing whole chunks of a Beelzebub article from 1 May.
The first paragraph from the Devil’s Advocate – "To Germany, for the football. They’re not bad chaps, the Krauts. True they do dress like emotional retards on their way to a 1970s disco, and their renowned lack of sense of humour is so accurate that it’s beyond parody" – seemed to have been thinly adapted for Peeping Tom to read: "To Korea, for the football. They are not bad chaps, the Koreans. True they do prefer their dogs on a plate and enjoy marrowbone milkshakes but hasn’t every nation got its faults?"
The Leader piece went on to lift, word for word, 16 points of advice from Beelzebub to football fans planning to support their teams overseas.
Lowe told Press Gazette: "I will be in touch."
Rossiter confirmed to Press Gazette he had received a complaint about the column and had passed it to the paper’s legal advisers. "I am hoping the matter can be resolved amicably," he stated. He declined to say whether he had lifted the copy.
By Jean Morgan