The UK Express claimed BBC Radio 2 host James Kelly killed a mouse by stomping on it. However, he didn’t kill the mouse; one of his colleagues killed the creature when it got loose in the newsroom.
Now, the Express is apologizing to the host, James Kelly, for its March 3 article, “BBC Newsreader criticised for STAMPING on mouse: ‘Quicker than a trap or poison.'”
“It was not James Kelly who killed the mouse. Mr Kelly did not approve of the killing in any way or the method of dispatch,” the May 8 apology read in part.
iMediaEthics has written to the Express to ask what prompted the apology.
Kelly told iMediaEthics by e-mail he complained to the Express and to press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the article. When he complained to the newspaper, he said, the Express published a correction, and when he complained to IPSO, he got the apology.
Kelly added to iMediaEthics that the Express did not contact him before publication for verification or comment, and noted that he didn’t know the Express published the apology until iMediaEthics contacted him.
Kelly had tweeted in late February about the mouse being loose. He tweeted a photo of the mouse and then noted that a colleague stepped on the mouse to kill it so it wouldn’t eat cables. One tweeter criticized the action calling it “cruelty and against the law,” to which Kelly responded, “I didn’t approve either but I guess it was quicker than a trap or poison.”
“Some of my colleagues and friends still think I killed a mouse at work,” Kelly told iMediaEthics. “I have to correct them. I didn’t get angry emails, however, because in truth the whole story was a ludicrous confection. One or two people on Twitter were unhappy to learn (from tweets I’d posted on my timeline) that a colleague of mine had killed a mouse with his boot.”
Kelly explained, “The papers made the story about me because I read the news on BBC Radio 2, which is a well-known station. Sadly it shows how bankrupt and vacuous journalism can be at times, as if we needed a reminder.”
The full apology reads:
“The introduction said ‘BBC Radio 2 journalist has faced criticism after joking about stamping on and killing a mouse.’ This was inaccurate.
“In fact, newsreader James Kelly tweeted about a colleague who had killed a mouse in the NBH-1 BBC Radio main newsroom.
“It was not James Kelly who killed the mouse. Mr Kelly did not approve of the killing in any way or the method of dispatch.
“We apologise to Mr Kelly for any hurt these inaccuracies may have caused.”
The original article now carries a lengthy correction reading:
“This article was originally headlined “BBC Newsreader criticised for STAMPING on mouse: ‘Quicker than a trap or poison'”and the introduction said “BBC Radio 2 journalist has faced criticism after joking about stamping on and killing a mouse.” In fact, newsreader James Kelly tweeted about a colleague who had killed a mouse in the NBH-1 main newsroom. It was not James Kelly who killed the mouse as is confirmed in the article, Mr Kelly did not approve of the method of dispatch.”
The Sun also reported on Kelly’s tweets and its March article also carries a correction. It reads:
“A previous version of this story implied that James Kelly was called ‘cruel”‘for his tweet about the mouse’s death. In fact the act of killing the mouse by a colleague was called ‘cruelty’. We have corrected this and apologise for any offence caused.”