Press watchdog The Press Ombudsman recently threw out complaints by ICPSA general secretary John McCormack that a national newspaper headline calling him a “bottom pincher” was not true.
In September 2011 a woman claimed McCormack had pinched her on the bottom while on a shoot which he disputed at an internal tribunal.
The Sunday newspaper now claims that ICPSA membership has dwindled to just 477, down from 1,200 members three years, with many unhappy with how the organisation has dealt with the internal controversy.
Mr McCormack complained about an article and headline “RTE gives job to ‘bottom pincher’”, published in The Sunday Times on 15 July 2012, claiming it was untrue and inaccurate because broadcaster RTE did not give him a job and the article did not make it clear that the ‘bottom pincher’ claim was an allegation that was subject to a tribunal.
But the Press Ombudsman decided not to uphold Mr McCormack’s complaints, after the newspaper said it offered Mr McCormack a right of reply and he turned it down and that Mr McCormack himself had agreed with an RTE statement that it had hired him as an analyst during the Beijing Olympics and was set to do so again.
The watchdog also decided “bottom pincher” was not a significant inaccuracy because the article quoted Mr McCormack’s submission to an ICPSA tribunal, in which he admitted giving the woman a “gentle pinch” in an area he described as “in the rear below her shooting vest”. Mr McCormack did not dispute the accuracy of either of these quotations used in the article.