British tabloid newspaper the Sun is back in the headlines for the third time in as many days. The Sun is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire, which has newspapers and television channels all over the world, including in the United States. The Sun and the other newspapers in the News International family in the U.K. are back under the control of Rebekah Brooks, who was the editor at the News Of The World during the phone hacking scandal. Brooks was also a deputy editor at the Sun for a time.
The Sun is often accused of sensationalizing stories for the sake of a headline, and many believe the newspaper to represent the very worst of tabloid journalism. In recent weeks, the newspaper has been attacked on a number of occasions for the quality of its reporting. The Huffington Post reports that most recently, the tabloid newspaper has been attacked over an exclusive story about a Hollywood actor with HIV.
In its story, the Sun claims that “Hollywood was gripped with fear after a womanising A-list actor was diagnosed with HIV.” The newspaper did not name the actor concerned but claimed that the superstar has “had a host of high-profile sexual partners.”
“His lawyers are believed to be aware of the situation and preparing for a raft of potential legal claims from previous lovers.”
Other newspapers and HIV campaigners were quick to criticize the way the Sun handled the story. The Independent reports that a spokesperson for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity, slammed the Sun for “irresponsible journalism.” Others accused the Sun of turning back the clock to the early 1980s, when the world was gripped by a moral panic over HIV and AIDS, and sufferers were stigmatized.
Shaun Griffin for the Terrence Higgins Trust also slammed the Sun for disclosing someone’s HIV status without their permission.
“The fact is that it is utterly wrong to disclose an individual’s HIV status without their permission – though we are provided with enough information here to effectively identify them.”
Social media users were quick to condemn the Sun for the way it reported the story. One accused the Sun of being back in 1983 and asked “haven’t we moved on from stigmatizing HIV like this?”
Hello? Is it 1983 again? Why is this news? Haven't we moved on from stigmatising HIV like this? https://t.co/XZh0DeFxzv— Matt Bagwell (@BaggersBites) November 11, 2015
Another claimed that the Sun had undermined “years of education and campaigns to overcome the stigma of HIV and AIDS.”
Bearing in mind all the years of education and campaigns to overcome the stigma of HIV and AIDS, The Sun sticks THAT on its front page?!?!— Michael J. Poulter (@MichaelJPoulter) November 10, 2015
The Huffington Post claims that the Sun article is identical to “an earlier report on entertainment website Radar Online, though that article carried lurid details about the star’s personal life not reported by the Sun.”
The Sun did include rampant speculation on the star’s previous sexual partners and commentary from unnamed “U.S. showbiz insiders.”
Whilst the Sun did not name the celebrity involved, the Seattle Flash claimed on Twitter that they had identified the star.
@TheSun We have already confirmed that the Hollywood actor with HIV is Charlie Sheen. No word yet on whether he has AIDS.— The Seattle Flash (@Theseattleflash) November 11, 2015
The Sun was in the firing line again yesterday after it claimed that U.K. television show London Spy was under investigation by the regulator OFCOM over “its explicit sex scenes and nudity.” This story was shown to be totally untrue, and the Guardian reported that the regulator said that only one complaint had been received about the show.
As was reported in the Inquisitr, the Sun has been fiercely criticized for the way it has portrayed new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
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