Monday, 15 August 2011

Chris Gelken Tips His Hand

I'm very late in seeing this article, but I guess it's no great surprise to see former CCTV 9 and (Iranian state-owned) Press TV anchor, and present CEO and "Ridealist" Chris Gelken carrying on like a member of the anti-immigration far-right on returning to the UK after 23 years away. Take it away Chris:

"The England I visited wasn't the England I left 23-years before. I was hearing and seeing things I never thought I would see.

What began, I am sure with the best of intentions, has gone badly wrong. Reverse discrimination, unparalleled and unrestricted immigration, a real fear among some officials of offending certain "minorities" (I hate that word) that has reached the point where some people are being excluded or discriminated against simply on the basis of being Anglo-Saxon.. or some other "ethnic" variety.

I met with British Asians and have recently communicated with Asian groups who are terrified of Afro-Caribbean organized crime and gangs in Britain's inner cities, I have spoken with British Afro-Caribbean's who are seeing their future stolen by mass immigration from new members of the European Union.

I personally lost my temper with a barman who responded to my question, "Excuse me mate, what is the pie of the day?" with a barely comprehensible "Pie.. er, er, er, is like a, how you say, hard bread with a, er, er, er, filling inside."

Something has broken in Britain, and I am trying to understand it."

It seems that the mere presence of people of foreign descent in the country is enough to render it, in Chris Gelken's eye, 'broken'. This is the face of the kind of "progressive" "journalist" who would work for the propaganda machines of multiple dictatorships.

[UPDATE] - Chris Gelken denies that he wrote the above-quoted section. However, the editor of The Latest insists that this is not the case. Read the comments below and make up your own mind.


justrecently said...

"The England I visited wasn't the England I left 23-years before.

Things change within a quarter of a century? Infamy!

Chris Gelken said...

Just one fundamental problem with the article you have reproduced. I didn't write it. I can understand your confusion, however, since it does have my name and picture attached.

You should vent your venom on the freedom enjoyed by people like Marc Wadsworth who can libel and misrepresent with impunity since the press laws in Britain do not yet extend to Internet-based publications.

Gilman Grundy said...

Chris, English law is very clear that defamatory statements can be made in any form, including on the internet. There is no substance to your claim that "press laws in Britain do not yet extend to Internet-based publications", in fact they do to the same extent they cover print.

If you believe the evidence to be on your side, I suggest you take action against Mr. Wadsworth.

However, I think it quite reasonably to say that when someone says that they would take legal action against someone else, but do not for reasons which are not actually valid, then they may not be dealing in an entirely honest fashion.

Chris Gelken said...

Actually, there is a difference in how libel is assessed based on "permanent" - that is electronically recorded on video, radio or print, or "transient" - the internet.

If you have the financial resources you can sue. At the time I was pursuing the case against Wadsworth no organisation was willing to take the case pro-bono, for some very pertinent reasons.

Which brings us back to the permanent and transient. An entirely web-based publication can be put together by virtually anyone in their bedroom, while a print publication takes resources.

You can sue, and even win against the internet publisher, but if they have no resources, then you might as well whistle in the wind to get your damages or court costs reimbursed. You have saved your reputation, but bankrupted yourself in the process.

If the publisher is in print, the lawyers and other organisations often do consider taking the case pro-bono, because there is an excellent chance of them recouping their costs.

Here is a portion of an email from one of the lawyers I contacted:
I have now been able to speak to David and unfortunately we would not be able to take your matter on the basis of a conditional fee agreement (“no win, no fee”).

If your objective is to get the article removed from the website we would be able to prepare a letter on your behalf, however we would have to charge you for this at our standard hourly rates. I attach a copy of our terms of business. My hourly rate is £220 plus vat. I would estimate that in order to prepare the letter we would require £500 pus vat. It is our firm’s policy to ask for payment on account before carrying out any work.

-- and that is just for the FIRST letter.

And at the time, the Press Complaints Commission did not deal with internet publications, I'd be happy to forward you their email - if you'd be happy to publish a retraction!

Gilman Grundy said...

Chris, the law in England and Wales is very clear that publishing in e.g., a blogpost is "fixed", and therefore falls within the realms of libel and not slander. See the libel cases involving, amongst other things, Facebook updates, Twitter posts etc. etc.

If the case is libel, and if your evidence against Wadsworth is as open and shut as you claim, then it would be pretty easy to get a preliminary injunction against Wadsworth. The burden of proof would be on him, not you.

And no, I'm not publishing a retraction unless there is definite evidence showing that it is warranted. Wadsworth says that you're lying, your dispute should be with him.

The fact that you don't actually seem to understand the law on this issue, but continue to say that it makes it hard for you to sue when in fact it should be rather easy if what you're saying is true, casts doubt on your version of events.

Moreover, you're asking me to believe that someone simply made up the quoted section, in your style, published it without you complaining at the time, without having any obvious motive to do so - a quote, moreover, that is consistent with some of your other writings. This is somewhat hard to swallow.

Chris Gelken said...

Actually, we did complain at the time - in fact, before. He sent me his version a day before publication. My response was immediate - and continuous.
Look, have you ever tried to get an injunction against an internet publisher in one jurisdiction while living in another? If you have, then I'd be delighted if you would share the information. At the time, I contacted several lawyers, internet watchdogs, the Metropolitan Police, even the British Embassy.. you name it, I contacted them and the answer was always pretty much the same as I have previously laid out.
As to why did Wadsworth do it? He believed his version was more "sexy and controversial" than mine and would generate more hits and comment.
And I take issue with your assertion that the article in question is "consistent" with other articles I have written. Do you have an example of where I have written a blatantly right-wing, xenophobic, racist article?

Gilman Grundy said...

Chris, as you might have guess from my profile, I do have some idea about this kind of thing.

Don't know why you were talking to the coppers, or the embassy, defamation is not really their thing.

As for your previous writings, I've seen plenty of the kind of "Blighty is going to the dogs" stuff. More to the point - working for one of the world's leading anti-Semitic broadcasters (Press TV) says all that needs be said.

But tell you what, I'll email him your comments and post what I get here. I strongly suspect he'll disagree with you.

Chris Gelken said...

Gil, I contacted the Met and the embassy seeking advice on what steps I could take to have the article removed. And this was done immediately after publication. Think about it buddy, why would I go to all this effort if I was the author of the piece as it appeared on Wadsworth's website? Go ahead and contact Wadsworth, you already know what response you'll get.

But for some background reading on Wadsworth try this:

The comments are well worth your time.

Chris Gelken said...

One of your buddies decided to spread the word. Here's my response.

Gilman Grundy said...

Chris, I'm sorry, but I don't see anything to help your case in any of those links. Marc Wadsworth, someone published in The Guardian, which remains a serious newspaper, seems a credible source on this - and really, there is no reason for him to lie about what the original content of your piece was. The original article does seem consistent with your comment on JR's blog about:

"unskilled worker[s] from the European Union who can just basically walk into the UK and work “on the black” for less than minimum wage, pay no taxes, no national insurance, and put local workers out of a job."

Not only is this utter nonsense reflecting a basic ignorance of EU law (workers from other EU countries are entitled to the same benefits, and employed under the same law as British workers) but it is redolent of the kind of xenophobia that people reacted to in your initial piece. Your track-record of working as a mouth-piece for oppressive regimes also cuts into your credibility.

I'm also curious - you say you contacted the Met and the local embassy (presumably you mean consulate, since you appear to be based in HK), neither of whom have anything to do with press standards or defamation. Why didn't you contact the National Union of Journalists? Or aren't you a member?

Tell you what, I'm going to hold all you comments on this thread in moderation until Marc Wadsworth's had a chance to have his say. Then maybe we'll be a bit closer to finding daylight.

Chris Gelken said...

You do that. But you might also want to read the final post I made on your friends blog:

Please pay close attention to the reference I make to Wadsworth's libelous comment piece about me.

Paragraph 6. In Wadsworth's own words:

"Several emails passed between Gelken and the editor, culminating in a sub-edited comment piece that was shown to Gelken before publication. He objected"

Before publication. I objected.

Now you can work your spin on whatever else Wadsworth says in his piece, it is mostly bullshit anyway.

But focus on this:

"Several emails passed between Gelken and the editor, culminating in a sub-edited comment piece that was shown to Gelken before publication. He objected"

So why am I the one being vilified for an article I didn't write?

Gilman Grundy said...

Chris - I actually think you have a (1) point in that last comment. Wadsworth emailed me to say he would comment, but no comment has appeared in my moderation queue. If such a comment was made, it was lost by the system. I've updated the post to draw people's attention to your denial and to make up their own minds. Given the conflicting nature of the story, I think this is the most that can or should be done.