T-shirtgate – the culprit named

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has now published its ruling on the complaint made by Alex McFarlane, over the Sunday Times’ reporting of the T-Shirtgate incident. The complaint itself has been rejected, on the grounds that the Sunday Times’ story was an accurate reflection of what it was told by CJ de Mooi.

In a judgement which is a devastating indictment of de Mooi, the PCC finds, inter alia:

1. “Although it was accepted by both parties that Mr de Mooi had not used the term “homophobia” in his interview with the newspaper, the Commission considered that the term was a reasonable description of the allegations that had been made.”

2. “It acknowledged his [ie. Alex’s] position that Mr de Mooi had not been “banned” from the ceremony and that the Congress had not decided that he could not be involved while wearing the T-shirt; however, it noted that these claims had been clearly attributed to Mr de Mooi. ”

Putting it in plain English, what the PCC’s independent investigation has established and stated is:

* CJ made statements to the press which amounted to accusations of homophobia against British chess, even though he did not use the h-word itself; and,

* CJ claimed to the press that he had been banned from presenting the prizes.

Alex and Lara have both made it 100% clear that neither of these statements was true.  CJ himself has effectively acknowledged this to be so, in his “apology”, published late in the evening of the incident – conveniently too late for the Sunday papers, to whom he had spent most of the afternoon peddling his false claims. In that “apology”, he accepted that the incident had been “a misunderstanding”.

The personal and profession damage that Lara Barnes has suffered since are a DIRECT RESULT of CJ’s actions. If this shameless self-publicist has a shred of self-respect, he will resign, forthwith. Not “offer his resignation”, as he did before, knowing full well that the spineless numpties on the ECF Board  would turn it down. Just resign. Quit. Go. Walk away. Now.

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