The Daily Express suspended freelance journalist Colin Mafham and apologized after the writer upset readers by asking “Why does trouble seem to follow them like bees round a honey pot?”
The article was published after an attack at a Champions League match between Roma and Liverpool that left one man, Sean Cox, seriously injured, the Guardian noted.
Mafham’s column also brought up previous tragedies involving the Liverpool team, such as the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy (where 96 Liverpool fans were killed) and the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus (where 39 people died). In both cases, fans were crushed at stadiums.
Mafham’s column continued:
“No one is suggesting that the violence that erupted on Tuesday night was solely the fault of Liverpool fans. Their visitors from Rome were clearly just as thuggish, and just as frightening.
“But there are suggestions that the reputation of Liverpool supporters had gone before them and Roman yobs had simply decided to get in first, and with such awful consequences. It’s not right, but it does again highlight a common denominator.”
The opinion piece was headlined, “Liverpool must take serious action after Roma violence or risk further trouble.” Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson called the column “an appalling slur.”
In an April 27 apology, the Express called the article “ill-informed and wrong” and said it “should never have been written.” The Express said it is investigating how the article ended up published.
iMediaEthics has written to the Express to ask if Mafham’s piece was edited before publication, how Mafham is suspended if he is a freelancer and how many complaints the Express received over the column. We’ve contacted the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation to ask how many complaints it has received over the column as well; an IPSO spokesperson said that it hadn’t received any complaints as of yet.
Mafhan doesn’t have an active Twitter; iMediaEthics has sent a message to his Facebook account.
The full Express apology reads:
“This article was ill-informed and wrong. It did not, in any way, reflect the views of the Express. It should never have been written and was very quickly removed.
“We unconditionally apologise, both for the article itself and any offence, understandably, caused.
“The journalist who wrote the piece was immediately suspended.
“Express.co.uk is conducting an inquiry into how the article came to be published on our website.”
UPDATEd: 4/30/2018 7:50 PM EST With response from IPSO