The Mail on Sunday reported that UK TV and radio host Adrian Chiles married and had a son with a woman named Maria Walsh. Problem is, Chiles himself said he doesn’t have any children and doesn’t know who Walsh is. The claim was “wholly, totally and utterly untrue,” Chiles said.
Chiles wrote in an article for the Guardian about the Mail marriage claim explaining a friend called him upset after reading the article. The Mail article reported on Chiles’ romantic life and mentioned the alleged Walsh marriage and child at the end of the article.
“It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I realised they had written about my second marriage, to Maria Walsh, with whom I have a son,” Chiles wrote. “A close friend from Belfast called me, indignant and hurt that I had never told him about Maria and our progeny. The reason I had kept it from him was simple enough: that I don’t know anyone called Maria Walsh and, to the best of my knowledge, fathered no son with her or anyone else.”
Chiles explained the fake marriage apparently originated when the Daily Mail reported a few years earlier that he was seen leaving a pub with a woman and then it ended up on Wikipedia.
The Mail removed the claim from its online article and noted the change and mistake. The print version of the article, available via Press Reader, said “Chiles then had a short-lived marriage to Maria Walsh, with whom he reportedly fathered a son.”
However, the Mail didn’t label its note a correction.
The note reads:
“An earlier version of this article said Adrian Chiles had a short-lived marriage to a Maria Walsh and may have fathered a child with her. Mr Chiles says he knows no such person and the false story was online after a mischievous Wikipedia posting.”
iMediaEthics has contacted the Mail to ask how the error occurred and if the correction note was published in print. We’ve also contacted Chiles’ employer the BBC.