All offence and no defence: a few words on the Morning Star management’s damage limitation

“Disappointed” is probably the most tired thing you can trot out in a press release, but that’s genuinely how I feel about the Morning Star management’s response yesterday. I’ll reproduce it here for posterity:

In response to recent claims made by Rory MacKinnon — who finishes his employment at the Morning Star on Friday August 8 — the Morning Star completely and utterly rejects the allegations that Mr MacKinnon was disciplined for attempting to raise allegations of domestic abuse.

It is interesting to note that he never formally raised such an allegation until he resigned, while facing further investigations into allegations of misconduct.

For the record, in April 2014 Mr MacKinnon was properly disciplined on charges of breaking the trust and confidence expected of him as a Morning Star reporter and of bringing the paper into disrepute.

The Morning Star wholly rejects Mr MacKinnon’s offensive claims that “the paper’s senior staff have an explicit policy of suppressing such allegations.”

The Morning Star always has and always will condemn violence against women in all its forms, in the strongest possible terms.

I’ll keep this brief, but the main takeaway is that there’s nothing in this statement of theirs to dispute the comprehensive papertrail I’ve linked to throughout the original post. Nor have they disputed the direct quotes that I have attributed to the Morning Star’s former editor Richard Bagley or former company secretary Tony Briscoe (again with documentation). They can take offense all they like, but they haven’t produced a shred of evidence to contradict me.

As far as formally raising an allegation, I’ve already produced documents showing that my union rep and I vehemently challenged the charges of gross misconduct and took it as far as an appeal hearing. If people are especially eager I’d be happy to jog down to the library and scan the paper’s disciplinary procedure in full, which only grants appeals on narrow technical grounds in any case. Meanwhile I’m at a loss about these “further investigations”, because that statement is the first and only time I’ve heard a single word from management about them. In fact the only contact I’ve had with senior management since giving my notice on 24 July was a phone call from acting editor Ben Chacko earlier this week asking whether I knew anything about a rumour circulating that a reporter had been fired in relation to the Steve Hedley allegations.

I don’t think there’s much more that needs saying here, other than to compare and contrast the Morning Star management’s latest statement with my former employer’s carefully considered judgment.

The Morning Star wholly rejects Mr MacKinnon’s offensive claims that “the paper’s senior staff have an explicit policy of suppressing such allegations.” – Morning Star management, 08 August 2014

“After three years at the paper you should reasonably be expected to be familiar with the paper’s news priorities, which do not include reporting internal union rows or personal controversy.” – Morning Star editor Richard Bagley, 07 April 2014

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