A UK woman named Maddison Hawk complained over six press stories about her. After Hawk had £25,000 worth of plastic surgery, she pleaded guilty to posting counterfeit hair straighteners on her online company.
Hawk complained to the UK print regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, over the stories.
IPSO ruled against The Mirror, The Daily Mail and Metro for errors in stating the woman paid for her plastic surgery “by selling fake GHD hair straighteners.” Hawk explained that she paid for her plastic surgery before the problems with the faulty hair straighteners came to light. She also said that she made no money from the sale of the hair straighteners.
“The inaccuracy identified by the complainant was significant,” IPSO wrote. “The article had said that she had spent a substantial sum of fraudulently-obtained money on cosmetic surgery, when in fact the connection drawn between the crimes and the spending on cosmetic surgery had been erroneous.”
Hawk also complained about the Sun‘s article, “Plastic surgery addict convicted of fraud” for the same error, but the Sun resolved the matter with Hawk without needing IPSO to make a ruling. The Sun ended up unpublishing the report.
On the other hand, her complaints about the Oxford Mail and Witney Gazette was rejected. Hawk complained because the papers said, “Hawk admitted four trademark offence charges on behalf of her company and a single offence of selling a product which breached safety regulations.”
Hawk argued, “it was inaccurate to say that she had pleaded guilty; she had pleaded guilty on behalf of her company,” according to IPSO. But, as IPSO pointed out in each case, since she was “the sole director of her company,” it isn’t “significantly misleading” to conflate her pleas with that of her company.
What The Corrections Say
The UK Mirror, Oct. 15, 2014 “Accountant funded her 25k plastic surgery bill by selling fake GHD hair straighteners.” added a correction reading:
“This article, provided by South West News Service, previously stated that the Court heard that Ms Hawk had ‘funded her 25k plastic surgery bill by selling fake GHD hair straighteners.’ In fact, this was not mentioned in Court and following the intervention of Trading Standards she did not receive any money for this transaction. The article has also been updated to make clear that Ms Hawk was neither personally charged nor convicted of fraud. This correction follows a ruling made by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.”
The Metro‘s Oct. 15, 2015 story, “Accountant’s company tried to sell fake gadgets after the director spent £25,000 on plastic surgery,” carries this footnote:
“An earlier version of this article stated Ms Hawk was convicted of fraud. We are happy to clarify that Ms Hawk was convicted of supplying a product that breached safety regulations and accepted four other trademark offences on behalf of her company. It also stated that Ms Hawk had paid for her cosmetic surgery from sales of counterfeit goods, which had been sold through her company. We are happy to clarify that the surgery was in fact funded separately and the goods were in fact offered for sale on the internet.”
The Metro “also removed three photographs from the article, as a gesture of goodwill,” IPSO noted.
The Daily Mail‘s Oct. 15 story, “Accountant who boasted of getting her dream body by the age of 25 spent £25,000 on plastic surgery then tried to sell fake GHD products that burst into flames,” has this footnote:
“An earlier version of this article stated that Ms Hawk had paid for her cosmetic surgery from sales of fake hair straighteners. We are happy to clarify that in fact no counterfeit goods were actually sold to the public and that the surgery was funded separately. “
IPSO ruled that the correction must be published in print.