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Complainant Name:
Messrs Waldron & Schofield on behalf of Mr Horace Irving Mendelsohn

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: News of the World


Messrs Waldron & Schofield, solicitors, of Manchester, complained on behalf of their client Mr Horace Irving Mendelsohn that an article headlined "Mrs Merton's made me into love god at 71", published in the News of the World on 25 May 1997 attributed to him statements which he did not make, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.

The complainant makes regular appearances on the "Mrs Merton" TV programme. The article stated that this had led to him being "chatted up" in the pension queue, "chased" down the street, "hounded" for autographs and "propositioned" by women of all ages. It went on to quote the complainant's descriptions of his being chased by student girls in Manchester and being asked by "the blue-rinse brigade" to sign photographs in the post office.

The complainant denied making the statements attributed to him and said that he had not been interviewed by the reporter. He also denied that he had "received any comments or approaches of a sexual nature following [his] appearances on the 'Mrs Merton Show'".

The newspaper supplied a transcript of a taped conversation between the reporter, the complainant and a man described as a friend of the complainant who acted as a contact; the man was previously employed by the newspaper. In it, the reporter outlined how he planned to describe how the complainant has "become a cult figure if not a sex symbol". It quoted the complainant describing how a group of girls in Manchester and three women in a supermarket had approached him. He said that "there are admirers....from a young age". The reporter then spoke to the contact who was with the complainant at the time and the transcript recorded that the contact had told the complainant that the reporter wanted it to "be a bit sexy". The complainant had asked in the background whether they would give him "a big fee". The reporter had then used the descriptions of screaming teenagers and the complainant's being propositioned by admirers in the pension queue; the contact had responded "He'll go along with that....because it's true"

The complainant's solicitors did not dispute the accuracy of the transcript but did not believe that it supported the story.

No Finding


The Commission believed that it was clear from the transcript that the complainant had spoken directly to the newspaper about the attention that he had received as a result of his appearances on the television programme. It regretted any misunderstanding that may have arisen after the involvement of a third party and noted that, whatever the distortion of the facts might have been, the complainant had co-operated with the article.

In these circumstances the Commission decided not to make a finding.


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