The UK Sun reported that Fubar Radio fired its host Justin Lee Collins over his sexist comments.
Now, Collins is suing the tabloid, saying that no reporter contacted him for an opportunity to respond before publication, a vital media ethics, and legally required, step in the UK. Also stipulated in Collins’ lawsuit was that the Sun ignored his retraction request and that the story put his other radio job at risk, according to the Press Gazette.
The Sun‘s May 17 story ran in print and online, according to the Press Gazette. The online article was headlined, “‘There’s too much p**** running this station’: Justin Lee Collins axed from radio show over sexist rants: Shamed telly star has blown his chances of a second shot at fame.”
The Sun‘s article reported that Fubar had “thrown a lifeline” to Collins as a second chance in the public eye after his 2012 conviction for”harassment causing fear of violence” toward his girlfriend. He was sentenced to perform 140 hours of community service for that crime.
The Sun quoted an anonymous source in its attack on Collins (“a radio insider”) claiming he made “inappropriate and extremely outdated” comments about women. The newspaper story also quoted an unnamed Fubar spokesperson saying it was “just resting the show,” indicating Collins wasn’t permanently off the air.
iMediaEthics has contacted Fubar Radio to ask what Collins’ present status with the station is and for a response to the claims of sexist remarks. We’ve also asked the Sun for a response to the charge that the paper didn’t contact him and ignored his retraction request.
While Collins’ lawsuit claims that no one at the Sun contacted him, it does say the newspaper contacted Fubar Radio’s chief executive, who denied the claims of firing over sexist remarks, the Press Gazette reported. Further, Collins said the Sun story made him worry he would lose his job at another radio station, XS Manchester. Collins also said that XS Manchester management asked him about the Sun‘s claims, which made him worry he was going to lose that job. iMediaEthics has contacted XS Manchester to ask for confirmation.
Finally, iMediaEthics contacted Collins’ representatives to ask more about the decision to sue and the claims. Claire Nightingale, who represents Collins, told us by e-mail, “The case isn’t closed yet, so Justin will not make a comment at the moment.” iMediaEthics will ask her to contact us when they are ready to release further information.
iMediaEthics also tweeted Collins for comment but oddly, we were blocked from his Twitter account afterwards.