Monday, 20 March 2017
The Sun piles on the agony for Lizzie Kelly
Last week Lizzie Kelly became the second woman to ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Her horse fell at the second fence.
It's the sort of story that would get decent coverage on the back pages and a sentence or two in the news report of the race. It is, after all, one of those events that transcend the sports section.
The Sun found a better line, however. It could "reveal" that some intimate videos of Kelly had been leaked and had been doing the rounds during the festival.
A reasonable story. Except...
First the heading: "Girl jockey sex vid agony".
There is no evidence that Kelly was agonised. The Sun clearly hadn't spoken to her to gauge any reaction. Instead, it "believed" that she was aware of the leak - which "a source close to the jockey" said had been doing the rounds for a year. Nor could it be sure about her boyfriend: it "understood" that she had set up home with another jockey.
Then there's the photograph. If you want to illustrate a story about a woman apparently distressed by people ogling revealing pictures of herself, of course the best way to do it is to show her naked.
The portrait of Kelly on a horse simulator was taken by The Times's award-winning photographer Marc Aspland as one of a series of carefully posed nudes entitled "My Sporting Body". Other subjects included stars of rugby, tennis, judo, weightlifting, swimming and golf. They can all be seen, with commentary, on The Times's website here (if you can get behind the paywall), where Aspland explains: "From rugby players to Isle of Man TT riders, by stripping the athlete of their kit we were able to show how many years of hard work has given them the perfect physique for their sport."
The Sun report mentions the feature, but not the rationale.
We can be pretty sure that neither Kelly nor Aspland intended the photograph to be used as a "come on" to readers who might think that it was a still from a sex video. But, as The Times's sister paper, The Sun presumably didn't need to ask permission to print it.
On the same page, the Sun showed its class again with a photograph of a man in a recognisable pose by the wheel of a lorry. Oh those Cheltenham headline writers, such wags.