My complaint to the British Press Complaints Commission
is based upon this irresponsible piece of journalism.
The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday (editor Paul Dacre – “the most dangerous man in Britain?” asks the Guardian) have writers in Hollywood, and distribute a lot of biased gossipy and inaccurate information. And their reporters are known to supply material to the Florida based tabloids.
I know the writer of this piece well. I cultivated her as a British friend, and she had access to all of my documents.
If you read my letter to the INS, as she did, I don’t know how she can come up with this piece of what is often called “yellow journalism”. The bias against me is palpable. And the persuasive power of celebrity is readily apparent.
Did Nicolette get paid? I don’t know, but she sure has raised her visibility, and can now call herself a “Public Figure” (different rules). As for young Zachy, if somebody sees him, please send him my love, we haven’t seen each other for nearly 3 years. I rather think and hope that it is me he misses!
I won’t divulge the actual complaint, I don’t think it is a public document. But if this kind of reporting should ever upset you, just get on to these people. I think they have some teeth, now.
British Press Complaints Commission
My complaint was rejected, on the grounds that they were within their rights to print, more or less, anything they want to. Editorial slant, to which they are entitled(!)
Well, now I can divulge the actual Complaint, and here it is:
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA 90078
December 29, 2004
BY REGISTERED EXPRESS MAIL
Your ref. 043278
Press Complaints Commission
1 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JB
John Clark against the Daily Mail Organization
This Complaint is now ready to be filed with you, the delay being due to the first hearing in Federal Court in the Larry King and CNN dispute (case number CV 04-03632) which took place on December 28, and the launching of www.johnclarkprose.com on Christmas Day, which has content pertinent to this case. To the extent they have a bearing on this complaint, the contents are incorporated herein as though fully set forth.
The issues raised in this complaint are explained in the Statement which follows and in the Attachments.
Meanwhile, unfamiliar with where the legal limits of freedom of the press and the laws of libel and slander might lie within Britain, for now, I content myself with this Complaint brought before this honorable Commission, for cause, for what I believe is the Daily Mail’s blatant disregard of the Commission’s new Rules, implemented June 1, 2004, and in force at this time.
Yours very truly,
JOHN CLARK, Complainant
The preamble to the Commission’s Code in force from June 1, 2004, states “All members of the press have a duty to maintain the highest professional standards. This Code sets the benchmark for those ethical standards, protecting both the rights of the individual and the public’s right to know. It is the cornerstone of the system of self-regulation to which the industry has made a binding commitment. It is essential that an agreed code be honoured not only to the letter but in the full spirit.”
Great Britain and the U.S.A. now have political and security concerns that mandate truthful and transparent press reporting in the English speaking countries. We live in a dangerous world. The following will argue that the Daily Mail’s desire and ability to manipulate news to conform to their own narrow agenda is wilful, the welfare of the public is not properly served, and this behavior should be stopped.
The complaint against CNN filed in Federal Court can be accessed for the purpose of further illuminating and adding to the facts introduced in this statement. It is available on the website.
BACKGROUND: Nearly six years ago, John Clark (“Complainant”) was seriously harmed by untruthful statements made by his longtime wife Lynn Redgrave during an ex parte interview with the London Times, who published her remarks in their March 5, 1999 edition. They got no corroboration from her husband, and his reputation was severely damaged. A complaint was not filed with the Commission at that time, for the reason that she, along with their son Benjamin and Nicolette Hannah, were involved in a false marriage for the purpose of obtaining resident alien status for their pretend daughter-in-law. She is the mother of then 2 year old Zachary, and the intention was for Zachary to be able to be brought up in the United States. However, they were in criminal violation of the Immigration Laws, and could have been sent to jail for making fraudulent statements to a government agency. Complainant was protecting them all by keeping silent.
Because he was sued in Family Court in Los Angeles by both his wife and by Ms. Hannah, on March 12, 2001 complainant wrote a letter to INS Criminal Investigations, copy to the FBI, confessing the fraud (see attachment 1).
The Daily Mail knew all of this, but chose to present their story in such a way that it would continue to inflame public opinion against Complainant, invade the privacy of his son Zachary, and display bias in favour of Lynn Redgrave and Nicolette Hannah.
Now Complainant is re-married, and attempting to re-start his long career in the field of entertainment in England and the United States. In order to correct the record once and for all, he has now published the record of the true facts surrounding the divorce in a website/blog, to be found in the usual search engines used by the press.
Complainant does not dispute the right of the Daily Mail to have a partisan editorial attitude in favor of Lynn Redgrave and Nicolette Hannah (now Nicolette Hernandez), but he does complain of their methods to obtain the information, their distortion of the record, their suppression of facts favorable to Complainant, and how the information is used.
The Details which follow recount what happened in the events leading up to the publishing of the two articles complained of.
A lawsuit was filed in US Federal Court against Larry King, CNN, and Turner Broadcasting System by John Clark as Plaintiff, for Defamation, Libel & Slander brought about during a television interview on CNN between Larry King and Lynn Redgrave, who appeared to be promoting a planned book on breast cancer (the book, just published, is attached)
Copies of this Verified Complaint were mailed out on September
29, 2004, to many of the leading broadcast and print media in the English speaking world, for the purpose of giving them notice that this lawsuit had been filed, and to enable them to read the contents. The purpose was to put a stop to the scurrilous reportage continuing to damage the professional reputation of the Complainant, which his ex-wife was happily, it may be assumed, allowing to continue. Complainant was not looking for publicity, but rather to prevent further public comment.
Apart from reporting that a lawsuit had been filed, no newspaper responded to this mass mailing – nor printed any of its contents – with the notable exception of the Daily Mail. The Entertainments Editor based in London, Nicole Lampert, called Complainant at about 10.30 am (6.30 pm London time) on Tuesday October 5th, attempting to interview him on the telephone. He responded by saying that all there was to say was contained in the document. She confessed she “hadn’t read all of it”. He invited her to do so.
It was at midnight on Friday in Los Angeles, that Saturday’s edition appeared on the web page of the Daily Mail, with a story under Nicole Lampert’s name which was a continuation of their old lurid one-sided “scandal” interview with Redgrave targeting Complainant in 2001 headlined “I’VE FOUND NEW LOVE AND I’M HAPPY AT LAST…BUT I NEVER WANT TO SEE MY HUSBAND AGAIN” (see Attachment 2) but made no mention of the now revealed Green Card fraud, of which she was aware.
When Complainant read the published article (see attachment 3), he immediately e-mailed Ms. Lampert complaining of its content and tone which continued to be wholly favorable to his ex-wife, and suppressed facts deemed in their view to be favorable to her ex-husband. It states that Lynn Redgrave refused to comment or to be interviewed by the Mail.
Complainant asked the newspaper by e-mail to refrain from publishing anything further (see attachment 4). There was no response, other than an emailed receipt from Laura Benjamin showing that it had been received (see attachment 5).
Complainant then called journalist Caroline Graham who writes for The Mail on Sunday, a person he trusted as an old friend. She promised to correct the record, and accepted many confidential and personal documents from him by e-mail, including letters between him and his son. She refused to come to his house to meet him in person and view other documents that could not easily be e-mailed, particularly photographs.
Complainant has recently been compiling a book replete with personally taken photographs, detailing his horrendous journey since 9/11. Copies of some of the pictures have been attached as Exhibit 8.
Graham, in one of her emailed responses, wrote “God, John, I have just read the emails from the start and it is just heart-wrenching. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. And Bejy’s (sic) answers just aren’t up to much. He obviously has taken Lynn’s side and if he’s not responding to the last msg, it’s obvious that her side is where he’s firmly staying put. It’s staggering. I don’t have children and from this account, I think that’s the way it will remain. I’m also going to contact Nicky again next week – I’m assuming Lynn has had no contact with Zachary? I’ll call you when I’m back in town to discuss where to go next. Thank you for all the information, it’s enlightening and frightening. Caroline.”
It is now apparent that she forwarded these very personal records to head-office.
Her “correction” appeared in an article for The Mail On Sunday which appeared on October 17 under her byline (see attachment 6,) this time with brazen distortions of fact, a whitewashing of Redgrave’s character, and revealing malicious intent towards Complainant, and invasion of the privacy of his child Zachary, who has family living in Los Angeles, New York and London. There is also evidence that the article was heavily edited in London by the editorial staff, the give-away being that the same inaccuracies of age, and date of childhood career appear, despite Complainant’s e-mailed correction on October 9. It should also be noted that this was an “exclusive interview” between the paper and Nicolette, which suggests that money changed hands.
Complainant e-mailed Graham complaining of what is obviously a bias in favor of Redgrave and Nicolette Hernandez and she responded sourly by e-mail on Sunday evening November 28, the full contents of which are included in this complaint (see Attachment 7.) In another email, not included, she said “I can see from your tone that you have simply added me to your list of ‘hate’ figures.”
Complainant’s alleged Code Violations:
Complainant believes that the Revised Code of Practice in effect on June 1, 2004, was violated in the following sections and possibly others:
Paragraph 1, item (ii) [Accuracy, and the right to have a correction made, but the inaccuracy continued].
Paragraph 1, item (iii) [Accuracy. The press is expected to print both sides of a court case (or nothing), and whilst free to be partisan, it is not free to withhold the facts of the case to the detriment of the other side, thus depriving one party of their rights, and concealing new facts.]
Paragraph 6, item (ii) [Children. The child was not interviewed, yet was photographed with his features obscured. If there was consent, why were his features obscured?].
Paragraph 6, item (v) [Children. Details of a child’s private life justified by the fame or notoriety of a parent is a violation].
Paragraph 15, item (I) [Payment made to a potential witness in a forthcoming trial]. The upcoming trial may become a criminal trial due to the theft of large amounts of money and property. Plaintiff has reason to believe that the mother Nicolette was paid by the Mail on Sunday for their “exclusive” interview, possibly $10,000 or more. Graham has often suggested money is available to persons with rewarding stories, and Complainant has never ever been involved with payment of any kind from the press at any time for any reason.
The commission should note that Lynn Redgrave is promoting her new book about her breast cancer which has just come out, with photographs taken by their daughter Annabel Clark, and which removes all mention of her ex-husband. A copy of that book is also attached.
1.John Clark’s letter to the Immigration Department and U.S. Department of Justice dated March 12, 2001 copied to the FBI, available in court records, and provided to The Daily Mail.
2. Transcript of May 5, 2001 article published by The Daily Mail headlined “I’VE FOUND NEW LOVE AND I’M HAPPY AT LAST…BUT I NEVER WANT TO SEE MY HUSBAND AGAIN”
3.The Daily Mail was provided with the “Lynn Redgrave vs. John Clark” information of the court case, and responded with their October 9, 2004 article published by The Daily Mail headlined “HOW LYNN MADE SURE THAT OUR MARRIAGE WAS ALWAYS OPEN”
4.E-mail from Clark to Lampert dated October 9
5. E-mail acknowledgment of receipt of e-mail from Laura Benjamin on behalf of Lampert to Clark dated October 10
6. Copy of October 17, 2004 article published by The Mail on Sunday headlined “ZACHARY, THE REDGRAVE OUTCAST”, under the by-line of Caroline Graham.
7.Copy of Graham’s communication to Complainant on November 28
8.Digital Photographs with descriptive captions, taken by Complainant 5 days after the 9/11 terrorist attack, available to the Mail, but ignored by journalist Graham
– END –
My complaint to the British Press Complaints Commission