This year, The Sun has issued five notable apologies, including the gypsies regret above. Things started with a columnist offering an apology to Sharon Osbourne:
IN my column on August 22 I suggested that Sharon Osbourne was an unemployed, drugaddled, unfit mum with a litter of feral kids. This was not intended to be taken literally. I fully accept she is none of these things and sincerely apologise to Sharon and her family for my unacceptable comments. Sorry Sharon…
Then, in recent months, the paper apologized to a boxing promoter, to a mother over allegations that she oversaw an out of control party for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday, and to a soccer player for fabricating quotes attributed to him. Honestly, though, this has been a rather tame year. In 2006, the paper earned Correction of the Year honors for this masterpiece:
Following our article on Princess Eugenie’s birthday celebrations, we have been asked to point out the party was closely monitored by adults throughout and while a small amount of mess was cleared away at the end of the evening, there was no damage to furniture, no revellers dived into bedrooms in search of drunken romps and to describe the house as being trashed was incorrect. We are happy to make this clear and regret any distress our report caused.
It won Apology of the Year for this:
On 13 February we published an article headed “Who bum it?” reporting that two Premiership footballers and a music industry figure had a “gay romp” in which a mobile phone was used as a “gay sex toy”. On 16 February we published a picture of Mr Cole and his fiancee headed ‘Ashley’s got a good taste in rings’.
Some readers have understood that Mr Cole was one of the two Premiership players involved in the gay sex and that Choice FM DJ, Masterstepz, was the music industry figure.
“We are happy to make clear that Mr Cole and Masterstepz were not involved in any such activities. We apologise to them for any distress caused and we are paying them each a sum by way of damages. The Sun wishes Ashley all the best for next Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final.”
And received a runner-up mention for another apology:
AN item on 2 August last year “Telly Teri’s Romps in Van” stated that actress Teri Hatcher had sex romps in her VW camper van at her home.
Although published in good faith, we now accept that the article was totally incorrect and we apologise to Ms Hatcher for the embarrassment caused.
The next year, the paper apologized to Yoko Ono:
Our May 30 story headed “Uuurrgh! My Corgi kebab is a bit ruff” said that Yoko Ono was on a radio show and “tasted” dog meat which was being eaten by an animal rights activist.
The report, which was filed to us by several leading press agencies was wholly wrong and Ms Ono did not appear or take part in the show.
We sincerely apologise to Ms Ono for the offence and distress caused to her.
And last year came this:
AN article on March 29, “Everyone off my bus, I need to pray”, stated that Arunas Raulynaitis, a London bus driver and a Muslim, asked passengers to leave his bus so he could pray and that passengers later refused to re-board the bus because they saw a ruck-sack which made them think he might be a fanatic.
The article included pictures of Mr Raulynaitis praying.
We now accept that these allegations were completely untrue.
Mr Raulynaitis is not a fanatic and he did not ask passengers to leave his bus to allow him to pray. In fact, he was praying during his statutory rest break. We apologise to Mr Raulynaitis for the embarrassment and distress caused.
With four more months of news ahead of us this year, I have a feeling that The Sun’s best efforts are yet to come. God help us all.
Correction of the Week