Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kerrang in court to defend "Stinky" slur

Kerrang has wound up in court after publishing claims that a Bullet For My Valentine tour manager was wanking when he should have been working.

Mark Strickland - who wasn't named, but would have been identifiable through his job title - was hugely upset by the claims, and when Kerrang refused to apologise, took to the courts:

The article, Filth Pigs, warned readers to "prepare to be disgusted" by the "sickest interview ever" with metalcore band Bullet For My Valentine.

It included a comment from drummer Moose about the Bridgend four-piece's tour manager on its German dates in December 2005 - a position held at the time by Mr Stickland although he was not named directly.

Asked if he had ever been caught "wanking", Moose was quoted as saying: "Never, I'm too good at it, but we caught our tour manager pleasuring himself in Germany two weeks ago.

"He was in a dressing room and we just walked in and I knew what he was doing instantly, you can't mistake that sound for anything else.

"We called him Stinky for the rest of the tour."

William McCormack, appearing for Mr. Strickland, told the court the incident had never happened:

"It attributed to him conduct which he will say is wholly inconsistent with him properly discharging his professional responsibilities.

"What's being said is that when he should have been at work, he engaged in activity which was lewd, sexual and, effectively, he could not control his sexual impulses."

Mr Stickland, of Mansfield Road, Nottingham, was a "fairly ordinary guy who takes a quiet pride in doing his job well and enjoys the respect and esteem of friends and acquaintances".

But, since publication, the court heard people had laughed at him and called him Stinky, and he felt awkward about ringing contacts for further work.

EMAP, who publish the magazine, countered that he wasn't named, and that the target audience of Kerrang (rather dismissively described as a "14-year-old thrash metal fan from Barrow-in-Furness" wouldn't have been able to pick up on such an obscure reference. (We're sure this was just a slip by EMAP's counsel Caroline Addy, as EMAP's advertising website suggests the median age of Kerrang's readership is actually 19.) EMAP also insist that the story is true:

"Moose discovered the claimant doing exactly that in the production room during the tour of Germany in December 2005 in the city of Bremen," she said.

Moose's story was supported by the fact what happened became a joke for his fellow band members and some of the crew.

Ah... so, if a bunch of people start to pick on someone, then it's proof that the heart of their allegations are true? Blimey, that must mean the BNP are right, then?

The case is expected to continue for a few days; EMAP haven't yet indicated they intend to pull Moose in to testify.