For what it’s worth, I can totally see a path in which Dan Wootton wriggles out of this. There’s a real reticence within the British media to report his alleged crimes or give Wootton the full tabloid treatment. Given what we already know of Wootton’s blackmail scheme and connections, I absolutely believe that he has kompromat on powerful people within the royal, political and media establishment. The stories about his connections to Prince William’s senior staffers just… disappeared. No one is mentioning them or investigating them. There’s a path for Wootton to simply disappear quietly – perhaps back to New Zealand – with no criminal charges. There’s also a path where the powers that be actively protect him and cover up his alleged crimes. The lack of media pile-on is notable – they haven’t decided what to do about the Wootton Problem yet. Speaking of:
The Sun’s parent company has hired external lawyers to help investigate “very serious” allegations regarding Dan Wootton’s time at the tabloid, the Guardian has been told. Wootton is facing allegations he used a pseudonym to secretly offer current and former Sun colleagues tens of thousands of pounds in return for sexual material
Rupert Murdoch’s News UK asked staff to contact its most senior lawyer if they have any information regarding the claims. They promised that all information would be treated in confidence, offered counselling services to anyone affected, and asked employees not to talk to journalists while inquiries were under way. Employees were told: “The matters reported are obviously very serious and include allegations that certain actions of Mr Wootton may have affected some members of staff at the Sun.”
A source at News UK said the company had also employed external legal counsel to advise and assist with its investigation.
Wootton also writes a regular column for MailOnline, which usually appears on Mondays and Thursday. The company has said it is looking into the allegations against the presenter and would not comment on whether it would continue to publish his writing.
The Guardian has spoken to seven current and former Sun employees who say they received emails from Martin Branning – understood to be a portmanteau of EastEnders characters Martin Fowler and Max Branning. All claim they were offered large sums of money in return for pictures.
[From The Guardian]
News UK is arguably doing the same thing the media company did at Fox News when the Roger Ailes stuff came out – hiring a neutral third party to help with the complaints and getting their in-house lawyers involved early. The Ailes case was also about sexual harassment and abuse, but not blackmail, videos and photos. But I still don’t expect this to go the same way as Roger Ailes/Fox News – for one, Wootton no longer worked for News UK. This reads more like an exercise in ass-covering more than anything else. I hope I’m wrong!
Additionally, John Cleese apparently wants the mainstream media to fully investigate Wootton. Cleese will have a show on GB News, the same station which currently employs Wootton. There has been no word on whether GB News is actually conducting an investigation.
Photos & screencaps courtesy of Avalon Red, GB News.
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