The Jewish Chronicle is Heavily Criticised by the Independent Press Standards Organisation for Lying about Audrey White and Refusing to either Retract the lies or Co-operate with an Investigation
‘Liar’ Lee Harpin, the JC’s Political Correspondent was Previously Arrested for his part in the Hacking Scandal at the Daily Mirror
Audrey White is a legend in her own lifetime. A woman who has fought oppression, sexual harassment and bigotry in all its forms all her life. Lee Harpin, the Jewish Chronicle’s Political Editor, who lied about her repeatedly, has spent his journalistic life defending racism and ethnic cleansing. Harpin isn’t fit to shine Audrey’s shoes.
This week the Jewish Chronicle has been forced to print the adjudication of IPSO, albeit 5 months late. IPSO is normally seen as the tame creature of the newspaper industry. It is some measure of the Jewish Chronicle and its Editor Stephen Pollard’s contemptible behaviour that IPSO has criticised them in such strident terms.
The Jewish Chronicle printed 4 articles, which consisted of a series of lies, about Audrey White. They were
“Ex-Militant Tendency activist accused of bullying Louise Ellman lied about date of birth to rejoin Labour”, published online on 25 February 2019 – now deleted
“Plot to oust MP Ellman spearheaded by a former member of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency”, published online on 25 February 2019. This article is still online
“Bullied’ Louise Ellman nears exit”, published in print on 1 March 2019; – deleted
“Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman ‘considering her future’ in party amid rumours of more resignations”, published online on 1 March 2019 and still online
The articles alleged that Audrey had:
1. been “expelled” from the Labour Party in the 1980s
2. “lied” about her date of birth on her application to re-join the Party in 2015, “on the day Jeremy Corbyn became leader.”
3. been “amongst a group of militants who repeatedly interrupted” their MP Louise Ellman while she delivered a speech at a constituency meeting.
4. “received a number of formal warnings from the Party over allegations of bullying against Party members”
5. “falsely claimed that a Labour councillor was under investigation by the police for having ‘cruelly taunted’ a ‘disabled pensioner suffering from cancer’”.
One article reported that the complainant had been a member of the Socialist Party.
The Jewish Chronicle employed the Jonathan Freedland ‘defence’ viz. that it had relied upon ‘confidential sources’ for its claims.
All the allegations proved to be false. When Audrey sent the Jewish Chronicle proof that their allegations were lies they simply refused to print any correction. That was why IPSO, normally seen as a fangless poodle added the following rider:
Independent Press Standard Organisation Ruling against Jewish Chronicle
The Committee expressed significant concerns about the newspaper’s handling of this complaint. The newspaper had failed, on a number of occasions, to answer questions put to it by IPSO and it was regrettable the newspaper’s responses had been delayed. The Committee considered that the publication’s conduct during IPSO’s investigation was unacceptable.
The Committee’s concerns have been drawn to the attention of IPSO’s Standards department.
In the past 4 years, the Jewish Chronicle has waged such a, deceitful, distorted and downright dishonest campaign against Labour Party activists and Jeremy Corbyn. The Jewish Chronicle has quite knowingly accused a host of anti-racists of anti-Semitism. It is therefore no surprise that at the end of the day they and ‘Liar’ Lee Harpin simply resorted to inventing facts
It has been one of the minor themes of this McCarthyist campaign that Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger, two Zionist Labour MPs, were forced out because they were Jewish. The reality is that they were not wanted because of their right-wing Zionist politics. Many of the people seeking their removal were themselves Jewish including my friend, the late Sam Semoff. Little facts like these never got to make it into the pages of the JC, which is an expensive propaganda sheet
One of the people propagating the lies about ‘anti-Semitism’ in Riverside was Ellman’s best friend, Councillor Nick Small. Small has been at the centre of the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations. It was Small who directly intervened in 2011 with the Legal Aid Board to stop them funding Sam Semoff, who was pursuing a judicial review against the government decision to put the rebuilding of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital out to PFI. The contract was given to Carillion, a get rich quick company who went bankrupt last year. Much of Carillon’s building work turned out to be below standard. See Remembering Sam Semoff – an American in exile fighting to defend the NHS
Small was successful and Sam was forced to drop his legal action. The hospital is still waiting to be built. According to the Health Service Journal the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust is seeking an extra £300 million because of the actions of Nick Small. The hospital was originally estimated to cost £335 million. If anyone should have been expelled from the Labour Party it was Councillor Nick Small, the neo-liberal cuckoo in the Labour Party.
Small objected at one meeting of Riverside Labour Party to the suggestion of Helen Marks, herself Jewish, that it is the actions of Israel, which describes itself as a Jewish state, against the Palestinians that is responsible for anti-Semitism. Small called this anti-Semitism when in fact it’s so obvious that it barely needs stating. The 2010 Incidents Reports of the Community Security Trust stated that:
The year 2009 saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents as a consequence of reactions to the Gaza conflict at the beginning of that year,which acted as a ‘trigger event’ affecting the incident totals for January, February and March 2009.
The full Report of Jewish Voices for Labour’s investigation into the Jewish Chronicle’s lies can be read here.
‘Liar’ Lee was also involved in the hacking scandal at the Daily Mirror and he was at one point arrested by the Police. Over the past few years Harpin has repeatedly lied and traded in disinformation. He has become a practitioner in the dark arts of Black Propaganda, as part of the Jewish Chronicle’s Fake Anti-Semitism Campaign. The full IPSO decision can be found here.
I had the privilege to meet Audrey when I was doing an interview with RT’s Sputnik. Audrey was nominated as one of BBC Radio 4’s ‘100 most influential women of the century’ (for defending women from sexual abuse in the workplace). Audrey was also heavily involved in raising money for a plaque dedicated to the 49 Liverpool Councillors who were surcharged for defying the Tory Government and bankrupted in the 1980’s. She invited me to attend the unveiling of the plaque at the Casa Club in Liverpool on the eve of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool in 2018.
The Committee expressed significant concerns about the newspaper’s handling of this complaint. The newspaper had failed, on a number of occasions, to answer questions put to it by IPSO and it was regrettable the newspaper’s responses had been delayed. The Committee considered that the publication’s conduct during IPSO’s investigation was unacceptable. The Committee’s concerns have been drawn to the attention of IPSO’s Standards department.
Audrey White made her name in 1983 when she became a pioneer in the fight against sexual harassment at work. She was the manager of a clothing store in Liverpool. When her area manager sexually harassed four women in her team, she complained – and was sacked.
The staff were too scared of losing their jobs to stand up for her. Audrey began picketing the store the next day. The picket was maintained, with banners and petitions, from opening to closing time for five weeks. ‘And no one crosses a picket line in Liverpool!’
‘On the picket we had dockers, car workers, staff from unemployed centres, union members, local activists.’
We didn’t even know the phrase ‘sexual harassment’ back then.
We learned how bad things were: women came up to us on the picket and said, “I had a wonderful job but my boss would do this, so I had to leave.” And, “I didn’t go along with what the boss wanted, so I got demoted”. When the company finally agreed to meet with us, they wouldn’t discuss the sexual harassment complaints, even though I’d got statements from the girls. They claimed I’d been sacked because I wasn’t ‘bubbly’ enough.
Once we lined up pickets at the Manchester and London stores, the company relented. I remember phoning the pickets from London and saying, “You can take the pickets off because we’ve won!”
My story shows that a woman can win – even a woman in a shop in 1980’s Britain.
In 1988, Audrey’s story was made into a film – Business As Usual. Here she is with Glenda Jackson, who played her character. See
Audrey White – Fighting back against sexual harassment
PRESS RELEASE FROM MERSEYSIDE PENSIONERS’ ASSOCIATION
– Nov 28, 2019
Anti-Labour smears of Jewish Chronicle exposed by Independent Press Standards
Merseyside Pensioners Association welcomes the findings of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in upholding the complaint by one of our members against the Jewish Chronicle for publishing smears and falsehoods against Labour activists in Liverpool.
Audrey White, who was nominated as one of BBC Radio 4’s ‘100 most influential women of the century’ (for defending women from sexual abuse in the workplace) was targeted by the Jewish Chronicle with a litany of lies and falsehoods reported by Lee Harpin – an ex-News of the World journalist arrested in connection with the phone-hacking scandal.
Harpin penned four separate articles containing incendiary and unsubstantiated claims discrediting the 68-year-old pensioner and Labour activist from Liverpool, Riverside. IPSO’s committee stated that “the publication’s (Jewish Chronicle) conduct during IPSO’s investigation was also unacceptable” and has been escalated to IPSO’s Standards Department.
The “significantly misleading claims” published by Harpin and the Jewish Chronicle included the accusation that Audrey (and other activists) had ‘bullied’ local MP Louise Ellman by acting as “a group of militants who repeatedly interrupted the MP” during a constituency meeting; as well as claims that Audrey had “lied about her age” to re-join the Labour Party; was previously “expelled from the Labour Party” and a “former member of the Socialist Party.”
Evidence provided to IPSO, including a recording, exposed these reportings to be patently false and “significantly misleading.” Malcolm Kennedy ex-Lord Mayor of Liverpool also fed the smears by ludicrously comparing one Labour constituency meeting to a ‘Soviet show trial’ — audio recordings of the event found that this too was “significantly misleading” and that constituency meetings were not “rowdy” as characterised by the paper.
The Jewish Chronicle also reported that Audrey had made a “false claim” that a local Labour Councillor was under police investigation for taunting a disabled Corbyn-supporting pensioner who suffers from cancer. Evidence from Merseyside Police’s Hate Crime Unit provided to the Press Standards Investigation concluded that it was “not false to make this claim” and that the publication had provided a “serious and misleading impression of Audrey’s conduct towards Labour politicians.” This conclusion is particularly welcomed by our organisation as the “disabled pensioner” is critically acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Phil Maxwell, a valued member of the Merseyside Pensioners Association.
The findings make clear that the reporting of the Jewish Chronicle and journalist Lee Harpin fall far below the professional and ethical standards expected of journalists working today — particularly as pertains to accuracy and fact-checking (the most basic principles of reporting).
Merseyside Pensioners Association has itself been a target of the Jewish Chronicle and we condemn the personal attacks, fake news and fabrications employed by this journal (and others) to peddle the narrative that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has been overrun by ‘militants’ and/or is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic.’ Tragically anti-Semitism continues to exist across society (as well as all major political parties) and politically motivated misreporting of this nature undermines serious efforts to tackle racism in all its forms.
The adjudication in particular exposes the divisive and politically-motivated tactics being used by certain areas of the press and Labour Party to promote the impression that Louise Ellman MP was ‘bullied‘ out of the Labour Party by local activists. Not only does irresponsible journalism like this smear innocent people, it creates division within our communities and tarnishes the reputation of our city (Liverpool) — a city all-too-familiar with the willingness of powerful and unaccountable newspapers to slur ordinary people (without reply).
The MPA congratulates Audrey in persevering with a nine month struggle to clear her name and we look forward to the Jewish Chronicle publishing the remedy as mandated by the ruling. We also ask for a suspension of these kind of politically motivated press-smears against Labour activists, as we fight an election for the Corbyn-led Labour government our country needs.
IPSO hammers Jewish Chronicle for attacks on Labour supporter – and its conduct during investigation
Press regulator slams Jewish Chronicle for ‘misleading’ and ‘inaccurate’ stories about a Corbyn supporter