In October 2015 we reported on the tragic case of Jay Cheshire, a 17-year-old boy from Southampton who took his own life after being falsely accused of rape, a case reported by every major news organisation in the UK other than the BBC (and Guardian). On Friday 29th July, reports of the suicide of Jay’s mother Karin made the headlines, with some newspapers running multiple articles about the case over the weekend.
Jay’s tragic death and the disgraceful refusal of the BBC to carry out its obligation to report the story to licence fee payers inspired a number of articles on this blog. These included a full investigation of all media reported false rape claims resulting in the victim’s suicide. This study showed the BBC (and Guardian) were the only outlets to have never reported or acknowledged the existence of a single such case in their entire histories.
At HEqual we assumed that this latest death would at least finally force the BBC to end its censorship of such major news stories. The Cheshire case was clearly highly notable last year and these latest developments eliminate even the slightest possible excuse for ignoring the story.
Amazingly, there’s still absolutely no trace of the story on any BBC website, tv programme or social media account, not even a retweet of a story by a different outlet. Unfortunately for the BBC, licence fee payers have actually noticed their complete lack of ethics this time around. Our nine month old article about their bias in ignoring the case received some 20,000 views in just 24 hours, hit the top 50 submission on Reddit and was even listed by Google news for a while. The expose now dominates regular Google searches for the subject and the public’s intrigue at the BBC’s misandry has now reached such a level whereby Google now instantly auto-suggests “BBC” after typing “Jay Cheshire”.
Last time around, we produced a list of ten trivial stories that BBC South had chosen to report in preference to Jay’s case. These included the capture of an escaped bird and the unveiling of a spoon statue. Regrettably, we’re forced to do the same thing again this time around. All the following were reported between Friday and Sunday by BBC South in preference to the Cheshire case:
- The closure of a shop
- A cat being shot with an air gun (and surviving)
- Delays in the refurbishment of a former court building
- A house fire caused by a faulty tumble dryer
- A bus driver helping a lady cross the road
- The opening of a tennis court
- The reinstatement of a bus service
- A student in a wheelchair who stood up to receive his degree
- Alleged cheating during a pigeon race
- 1,500 books put in a line in a park
Unlike the BBC, we try to be fair in our reporting, and in the hundreds of comments written over the weekend, some have suggested that perhaps the BBC simply has a policy of never reporting suicide cases in case it encourages more people to take their own lives.
As we showed last year, the BBC’s near obsessive coverage of the suicide of alleged false rape accuser Eleanor De Freitas at the exact same time as the Cheshire case blows this suggestion out of the water. Furthermore, none of the BBC members of staff we’ve contacted ever suggested the existence of any policy banning reports of suicides. However, we decide to do further checks and found no shortage of BBC reports on the suicide of males around Jay’s age, most of them less newsworthy than Jay’s case:
- Autistic Suffolk boy who killed himself ‘was bullied’
- Bullied teenager left goodbye message, mother says
- Coalisland: Schoolboy ‘took own life after online trick’
The above reports on suicides were connected to bullying rather than any criminal act. Furthermore, all such articles were even written before any coroner’s inquests were concluded, suggesting the BBC actually jumped the gun in reporting the cases:
In addition to their 42 articles about the suicide of a false rape accuser, the BBC does of course report on the suicide of rape victims, even before the release of a coroner’s report. This article for example, even mentions the concern a rape victim had of seeing her rapist at university, suggesting “In any other organisation… a person would be suspended”. Of course it’s likely that Jay faced the very same issue.
Last year’s outright refusal of the BBC to report the Cheshire case nationally was accompanied by excuses from their local BBC South team that they’d somehow been unaware of the story, this despite it making national headlines and clearly being the biggest story of the week in their region. They argued that they had been “playing catch-up”, presumably due to relying on the Guardian as their sole news source. Anyway, BBC South claimed to have since contacted Jay’s mother and would have been willing to cover the story on the condition that she did an interview. So, the BBC would apparently only cover the news if they were able to get an exclusive video interview from a person clearly in no state to be doing any such thing, a woman who became so depressed as a result of he case she spent six months in hospital and then finally took her own life.
Quite rightly, it seems Karin Cheshire didn’t respond to the BBC, afterall, even tabloids reported the case without demanding exclusives. Furthermore, Karin’s tragic death now casts further doubt on the BBC’s honesty. We sent the story directly to those who refused to cover it or claimed to have missed it last time around and told them in no uncertain terms that our communications now eliminated the possibility of them trying this same excuse again. We’ve also challenged the BBC to cover the case multiple times on Twitter and their failure to do so yet again suggests they simply do not wish to touch the case under any circumstances and will use any excuse possible to avoid doing so.
We do hope in the future to report the historic day that the BBC finally does its job and becomes one of the last UK media outlets to finally acknowledge the existence of suicides caused by false rape allegations. Right now, the BBC simply continues to pretend that such cases do not exist but at least everyone now knows of their contempt for victims. of these crimes.