"This morning I updated the piece to make it clear that I don't think poor suffering Pete is a racist, just an ill-informed reactionary know-nothing. "1. 'Wrong' is an odd word for subjective opinions.
No you didn't,. You removed the offensive words and apologised because you got it wrong and were frightened to death about the consequences, like a little boy caught with his catapult next to a broken window. As you put it in your email to me: "OK, hands up: my satire was too broad in this case and I apologise."
Today, inexplicably, you dig yourself into a deeper hole by posting "comments" suggesting I am lying about my CRE award.
As one who presumes to teach media studies, you really should be more thorough. I am astonished that both you and your emailers are so hopeless at using Google. It really is very simple. You type in "Peter Rhodes" and "Commission for Racial Equality" and there it is.
And if that is beyond you, you can take it from me that I won first prize (Regional and Local Newspaper category) in the 1997 CRE Race in the Media Awards. The award was for a "body of work," a number of features written during the year and it was presented, as I recall, by Meera Syal.
Now, if you are big enough, you will remove the comments from your blog.
Incidentally, wouldn't this be the ideal time to assure your readers that you have never, ever sought to write anything for the "racist" Express & Star?
2. I'm not frightened of any consequences. If Peter wants to sue over satirical comments, he's very welcome. This, let's remind ourselves, is a man who equates supporting equal marriage to shovelling Jews into the gas chambers.
3. I haven't posted comments. Readers have posted comments. I don't censor comments.
4. I spent a good long time searching for Peter's award. It doesn't appear anywhere. I invite you to do the search he recommends. There it… isn't.
5. A prize! In 1997! Presented by someone famous from an ethnic minority! Well, some of my best friends are black too, as the saying goes.
6. My history with the Express and Star:
a) I complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the paper equating Travellers with animals. They got away with it because the code - conveniently written for newspaper editors by newspaper editors - said that you can say what you like about entire ethnic groups: you just can't attach racialised commentary to individuals. That's a hell of a loophole.
b) The Express and Star approached the university looking for a piece about the American election. It was suggested by the university that I co-write it with my boss. The Express and Star rejected this because it doesn't like me. I certainly didn't approach them.
7. Is the Express and Star racist? Well, it suggested that Travellers are congenitally criminal, which sounds racist to me. It gave notorious racist Enoch Powell a column for many years. It demonises ethnic minorities and religions. So yes, in my subjective view, it is.
8. I won't be removing comments. Peter has emailed me again:
You are responsible in law for every item appearing on your website. Shouldn't you know this sort of stuff?I do know my stuff (and nothing posted by my readers is libellous anyway).
Blogger is hosted in the USA and comments are therefore held to be posted there. Under 47 USC 230, I am only responsible for comments made by employees (I have none), comments which breach criminal codes (which none of mine do) or comments I've edited substantially enough to change the meaning (which I don't do). As I'm sure you're aware, libel is a civil matter. The Communications Decency Act of 1996 stipulates that
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Of course, one might dispute jurisdiction: Vole is readable in the UK so its content is actionable here. In which case I would refer you to Google v. Pamiz, in which a British judge decided that blog comments were the responsibility of their authors rather than the platform (in this case, Pamiz's own blog: he objected to libellous comments made about him and sued Google - and lost). UK law isn't completely clear, however.
(New reader? Start here).