On the Sky News paper review on Wednesday Sally Bercow chose the Times front page story about the grooming of children in Blackpool takeaways as one of her stories to discuss. At the end of the discussion, she was asked by the Sky News presenter Anna Botting what lessons could be learned from this. She replied: "Don't go for a takeaway in Blackpool." It was an off the cuff flippant remark, made on the spur of the moment. My instant reaction was to laugh at her remark. It was more of a nervous reaction to what she said rather than because I found it hilariously funny.
Since then, a disgsuting internet campaign has been launched against Anna Botting, on the basis that she had said what Sally had said. Even when it was pointed out that it had nothing to do with Anna, the people behind the campaign didn't acknowledge the fact. Indeed, today they seem to have decided that I am the guilty one because I laughed at what Sally said.
Sky have issued the following statement on their Facebook page. "We note some complaints aimed incorrectly at Sky News presenter Anna Botting in connection with the sex grooming cases in Blackpool. It was in fact a guest newspaper reviewer who made the comment "Don’t go for a takeaway in Blackpool" and not Anna. We are sorry for any offence caused by the guest reviewer's remark."
Sometimes on live TV and radio things are said in the heat of the moment which are not appropriate. Reactions can also be inappropriate. My reaction in no way was meant to indicate a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the grooming of children. The whole incident has clearly caused offence to some people and I am happy to apologise for my part in that. What I also regret, however, is the vicious nature of the campaign launched against Anna, Sally and me on various internet sites. It shows the internet at its worst.
I'm not going to say anything further on this, no matter how much various internet trolls try to provoke me.