It wasn’t inaccurate for the UK Mail to say a man’s wedding proposal was set up “in the hopes of staging a viral social media moment” or to say he “hijacked” his future fiance’s acting performance by proposing the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled.
The couple complained over the July Mail Online article, “A real-life Mr. Darcy…or a misguided clown? Boyfriend ‘hijacks’ his girlfriend’s performance of Pride and Prejudice so he can propose in the hopes of staging a viral social media moment.”
While the man denied he planned to propose to go viral or hijack the proposal, he did in fact propose on stage after his partner Genevieve Pitts performed in a play. He said he didn’t try to have a viral incident, but the Mail argued since he did propose on stage in front of an audience and the couple gave interviews about the proposal and said they were fine with the video being used for marketing, it was fair to characterize his proposal as an attempt to go viral. Further, the Mail defended its description of the man as hijacking the performance since he was on stage “with an ulterior motive” and made his partner respond.
The Mail did make some amendments to the article to try to resolve the matter, but IPSO rejected the argument. iMediaEthics has written to Grant and the Mail.
“Whilst the complainants disputed that the proposal was planned in the hopes of staging a viral social media moment, their subsequent engagement with press interviews and their own engagement with the social media mentions of others meant that it was not unreasonable for the publication to assume that the subsequent social media impact had been planned in advance; it was not significantly misleading to report that it had been planned “in the hopes of staging a viral social media moment,” IPSO ruled. “Furthermore, the article explained its basis for describing Mr Grant as having “hijacked” the performance where he had unexpectedly taken to the stage and became the focus of the audience’s attention.”