News

‘Fucking Pope’ outburst in Times newsroom ‘frightened and intimidated’ a sub-editor

NEWSPAPER sub-editors are a frightening breed, and – having been at the receiving end of their wrath on several occasions during a long career journalism – I can vouch for the fact that their outbursts frequently contained language that would make an old salt turn red to the roots.

Thousands turned out to demonstate against Ratzinger when he visited the UK in 2010

Thousands turned out to demonstrate against Ratzinger when he visited the UK in 2010

Seemingly unaware of the nature of the beasts, an exceedingly tender Catholic sub-editor last year took the Times newspaper to an industrial tribunal, claiming religious harassment and victimisation after a senior sub-editor, irritated by the delay of a report on Pope Razinger – soon to be ex-Benedict – shouted across the newsroom to senior production executives:

Can anybody tell me what’s happening to the fucking Pope?

Mr B Heafield’s case was dismissed by the tribunal, and the sub-editor then took his case to appeal – and has lost again.

The appellant, a practising Catholic, worked as a sub-editor for the newspaper. In 2010, the paper ran a series of articles dealing with allegations of child abuse in the Catholic Church and allegations of “cover-ups” by the Church.

Heafield was unhappy about the coverage and believed that the newspaper was displaying anti-Catholic sentiment by printing the articles.

On March 12, 2010, the Times was working on a story concerning an allegation that the Pope had, in a previous role, protected a paedophile priest. This story was allocated the working title “the Pope”.

As the deadline approached for the newspaper to go to print, a senior sub-editor – a Mr Wilson – realised that the story had not yet arrived on his screen. He then fired off his “fucking Pope” question. When no-one responded, he repeated the question, again raising his voice.

Heafield argued that he found the comment to be offensive and complained that he had felt intimidated and frightened by it.

The Tribunal, however, found that there had been no intention to cause offence and that, although Heafield had been upset by the comment, it was not reasonable for the comment to have had the effect of creating a hostile environment for him.

Neither had the comment been made on grounds of religion, when examined in context.

On January 17, at an employment tribunal appeal, Mr Justice Underhill upheld the original finding that:

The use of bad language was evidently merely an expression of bad temper and not intended to express hostility to the Pope or Catholicism and that it did not constitute harassment within the meaning of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

The judge said:

What Mr Wilson said was not only not ill-intentioned or anti-Catholic or directed at the Pope or at Catholics: it was evidently not any of those things. 

No doubt in a perfect world he should not have used an expletive in the context of a sentence about the Pope, because it might be taken as disrespectful by a pious Catholic of tender sensibilities, but people are not perfect and sometimes use bad language thoughtlessly: a reasonable person would have understood that and made allowance for it.

Hat tip: Glenn

40 Responses to “‘Fucking Pope’ outburst in Times newsroom ‘frightened and intimidated’ a sub-editor”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    If this pope-loving wimp had read Giles Coren’s wonderful assault on sub-editors and acted in similar vein he might have come out of this with somewhat more credibility than he did.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/23/mediamonkey

  2. JohnMWhite says:

    “No doubt in a perfect world he should not have used an expletive in the context of a sentence about the Pope”

    Why the fuck not? He’s a fucking paedophile enabler and a fucking mass killer and a fucking thief. Society’s continued deference to people in positions of religious authority is absolutely poisonous. What does a man have to do to lose respect if he has a dog collar on?

    “a reasonable person would have understood that and made allowance for it.”

    A reasonable person would have abandoned the Pope and his vile paedophile ring a long time ago.

  3. Stephen Mynett says:

    Typical victimised religionist. To get a job at the Times he would have needed a good bit of experienced (they are nothing like the local rag I worked for who would hire monkeys and often did), therefore he should have been used to a newsroom environment, especially around deadline time.

    However, I think these people do us a big favour, as their pathetic whingeing and claims of victimisation make them look stupid to most sane people.

  4. Angela_K says:

    These religious types do love a vexatious claim!

  5. Broga says:

    The judges’ description, possibly with tongue in cheek,

    “a pious Catholic of tender sensibilities”.

    I would assume he was a self righteous prig, wanting to impose restraints, on any whom he decided had offended his “tender sensibilities.” From my long gone days in the army I recall that sentences were not just stuffed with expletives but words were ripped apart to stick fuck in the middle of them. The creative, and apparently effortless, ability demonstrated was wondrous.

    I think that the efforts to impose restraints, and censorship, by RCs in influential roles will be stressing them as never before. With Ratzi on the ropes the criticisms will have a force and a freedom as never before. As the evidence presses, the outrage escalates and the protective shield around Ratzi buckles the game is slipping away. There must be some sweaty brows and trembling hands amongst the BBC Top Dog RCs.

  6. Matt Westwood says:

    “Oy, Heafield, where’s my fucking story about the fucking pope, you fucking papist cunt?”

  7. lonborhgini says:

    Let’s not be denigrating such a fine word as fuck by associating it with something as despicable as a pope.

  8. Broga says:

    lonborhgini: I think Papa may be using the word himself at present. I used to like the comment when, soaked, cold and up to our arses in mud in the middle of a winter’s night, someone would say, “Fuck this for a game of soldiers.”

    The reflex reply was, “If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined the army.”

    Ratzi may be adapting that to fit having become Pope.

  9. Brummie says:

    I hope Ratzi’s replacement is even more conservative and reactionary. Much easier to shoot off his pedestal than a tactical, political liar we are liable to end up with.

  10. chrsbol says:

    For those few who may not have seen/heard Tim Minchin’s song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sph8Qu8wLAk

  11. Nelmonster says:

    The pic really made me laugh, stolen and facebooked. :)
    I’m sure you have all seen this one but Tim Minchin says it so well; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHRDfut2Vx0

  12. David Anderson says:

    So Heafield, a sub-editor on a (once) good newspaper, was unhappy about reporting the allegations of abuse and cover up of child abuse and rape by the catlick church. The reason for this is that he himself is a catlick. Would he then have the same sentiment if the story covered the latest Islamic atrocity? Of course not, he would be rubbing his hands with glee.

  13. RabbitOnAStick says:

    It is quite incredible how the religious are so extremely sensitive to words they deem to be so hurtful and disrespectful [whatever that is supposed to mean] to their belief and illogical thought processes, yet have nothing to say on the same very hurt, disrespect and vitriol espoused in the name of their religion against others. Others who do not conform to their identity.

    Such as against the sexual orientation of any one.
    The non-religious-belief of any one.
    And the absolute damnation of those sexually odd people, and evil non-believers.

    And by which- as we know – they cite chapter and verse to condemn us so righteous and magnificently.

  14. Barry Duke says:

    I have to confess that, back in the 80s, while working for a publishing company in London, I was accused of religious intimidation and hatred by a new recruit.

    On his second day at work, he left Christian tracts on the desk of all his colleagues. On his third day, I retaliated by leaving a copy of the latest Freethinker on everyone’s desk.

    When he discovered that it was me wot dun it, he grabbed his copy of the mag and demanded a meeting with the MD. He whined that he had been targeted with “atheist filth” and tore it to shreds.

    I was summoned to explain my action. After hearing my side of the story, she glared at the spotty little oick and growled “fuck off!”

    He cleared his desk and was out of the building in under 10 minutes.

  15. Don says:

    Latest from the Vatican is that Joey will live out his life ‘hidden to the world.’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/14/pope-hidden-to-the-world

    No shit, Sherlock. The important question is, does he still get to wear the ruby slippers?

  16. Stonyground says:

    Christians of various stripes squealing about being persecuted is something that should be celebrated. Even if they win the occasional little victory, yes silly cross woman I’m looking at you, this bleating shows that they know that the game is up. A few hundred years ago these people could have you arrested, brutally tortured and burned alive, just for pointing out that their beliefs were absurd. Nowadays all that they can do is winge to the authorities like litte children telling tales to teacher.

    Regarding the F word. I used to work in a factory that used big presses to make our products. Sometimes these presses would break down in quite a big way. One day a handful of us had gathered in John’s office for an unofficial discussion, when one of our less intellectually gifted machine operators stuck his head around the door and said “Fucking press is fucking fucked John”.

  17. AgentCormac says:

    Our old friend Bob ‘shit for brains’ Hutton has just posted a howler. According to the confused xtian idiot, even the youngest of children are inherently evil and for their own good should be scared shitless by their parents with threats of eternal damnation in the pits of Hades. Oh, yes – and sent to bed without anything to eat. What he is actually advocating is child abuse. He would make a good next pope.
    http://bobhutton1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/children-are-young-vipers.html

  18. Broga says:

    Isn’t this the man who is alleged to be a wife beater? These comments are an incitement to child abuse. Shouldn’t Inspector Knacker be knocking on his door? Or Social Services? Hutton is deranged, seriously sick, and these comments will come back to haunt him.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Great minds think alike, Barry! Plenty here about keeping wives and children in order as God commands:

    http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=58893

  20. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Oops. Sorry. I’m afraid the encouragement of child abuse makes me go a bit mental. Must be more careful. Thanks for the correction.

  21. tony e says:

    If he was to attack paedophile priest with the same vigour as he defends his church, I would salute him.

    Fucking weasel.

  22. Barry Duke says:

    The most despicable aspect of Hutton’s personality is his abject cowardice. He is quite happy to advocate violence against children, but goes to inordinate lengths to make sure that no-one knows what he looks like or where he lives.

    The fucking creepy little pervert actually got onto Facebook without posting a picture of himself! How utterly pathetic is that?

    A while back I offered a cash reward to anyone who could supply me with a clearly verifiable photo of Hutton (dressed or naked), and the offer still stands.

    Stephen Green, who Hutton has a daily wank over, is just as cracked as he is, but at least Green doesn’t dodge the cameras.

    And he sure as hell can’t dodge gull shit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYxY39GL64Y

  23. remigius says:

    That wasn’t a gull, it was a tufted duck.

  24. barriejohn says:

    Why hasn’t Stephen Green evolved?

  25. tony e says:

    Barry,

    I claim my reward.

    I have finally captured him on film
    and he is the one not playing a guitar!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myhnAZFR1po

  26. Robster says:

    Bit unattractive seeing the word “fu*k” and “p*pe” in the same sentence. Popes don’t fu*k and that’s half the problem.

  27. John A says:

    Rumour has it that Mr B Heafield has now decided on a career change and has applied for a job with Gordon Ramsey; apparently he’s no longer prepared to tolerate nasty senior sub-editors and just wants to be left alone to get on with a nice bit of cooking.

  28. LindaR says:

    As a retired chief sub, may I just confirm what other journalists here have said: that sanctimonious little shit wouldn’t have lasted five minutes on any back bench where I ever worked. What would the poor little darling have done if he ever came into contact with the nasty comps?

  29. Barry Duke says:

    This, found in my spam folder this morning, is a response from the reptile Hutton:

    The reason I don’t have my photo or address in the public domain is because you and your ilk would send me hate mail and subject my photo to abuse on your “blog”.

    You really must repent or you WILL face eternal damnation.

    As I said earlier, an abject, snivelling coward!

  30. barriejohn says:

    Barry: Thus confirming what we all know – that creeps like Hutton and Green scan blogs like this every day just to see what is being said about them!

  31. barriejohn says:

    Situation vacant = Vatican saint out

  32. Angela_K says:

    @Barry Duke. Hutton hides behind the Blogspot Domain so we can’t find out who owns Hutton’s bit. If Hutton really had the strength of his [misguided] convictions he’d reveal his identity – and shouldn’t his imaginary friend be protecting him from us evil atheists.

    Barry, how about posting on here [or you could email me] with all information we have about Hutton and see if we can flush him out.

  33. AgentCormac says:

    Could this be our Bob Hutton?
    http://emeraldislemissions.com/images/albums/NewAlbum_48c9e/tn_1200_c2e71b126a0e8edd9fe865830178f602.jpg.png

    He is a missionary at the Mallow Baptist Church in Ireland. Just Google ‘Bob Hutton Mallow Baptist Church’ and you’ll find plenty of references to him. This guy certainly has all the right credentials!

  34. remigius says:

    AgentCormac. That’s not our boy.

    Bob Hutton lives in Broadstairs, Kent. He is often found harassing passers-by in Canterbury, or tampering with their groceries in local supermarkets.

  35. remigius says:

    Angela_K. I did once offer to shove his book of fairy tales up a certain gender neutral orifice, so I think he may have taken it seriously.

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