09 August 2006 ~ 0 Comments

Gina Ford vs Mumsnet – Flippettyflop

This article was originally posted in 2006 on my handbag.com blog, which is now no longer operational.

The saga continues.

Much like yesterday’s Big Brother episode, Gina Ford is causing me a migraine. Big Brother producers have decided that although the housemates the public viewed as least deserving have been evicted via paid for voting, they should get another chance at the prize.

This is despite their own rules stating that once a housemate is evicted, they are no longer in the competition. But then since rules can always be changed depending on how viewing figures are performing, I suppose morality over the appropriation of profits can go out of the window. A statement I assume designed to quell any uproar has been issued, pointing out that all phone vote proceeds will go to charity, netting around £250,000. I suppose that’s good going when the eviction process has generated over 5 million. Dragon’s Den candidates, take note of true entrepreneurship.

Of course, I am assuming the further money shoveled into the struggling show’s coffers resulting from the settling of old scores between current and ex-housemates will be also donated to charity. This would of course avoid any suggestions that Big Brother bosses have completely hook-winded the public into parting money to evict some truly distasteful individuals only to see them return to impose their bile on us all over again.

I’m getting a crick in my neck from trying to keep up with all the twists and turns of this season’s freak show, which reminds me why I referred to flip flopping in the title of this blog entry.

The latest twist in the community-next-door vs parenting-expert-with-no-kids show really gives Endemol a run for their money in the “Huh? I’m confused. What the hell is going on??” stakes.

Following continued media interest in the story I originally blogged about here, then followed up here, I noticed Gina Ford had issued a statement that was read out during the evening news on Channel 4 and ITV. She denied ever demanding that the Mumsnet community be shut down. Slightly put off by this statement as it would render my blog entries obsolete, I returned to the Mumsnet statement and specifically the legal letter their ISP DSC received, which read:

We are writing to request that you disable the website with immediate effect.

Hum. Either there’s some frantic backtracking going on or I’ve finally lost my marbles and don’t understand English anymore.

This morning, a further statement was posted to the Mumsnet website. Clearly I was not the only one to wonder whether I’d had my drink spiked and dreamt the whole thing as Justine Roberts kindly clarified the details:

Ms Ford claimed in a statement last night that her lawyers had only sought the closure of the Mumsnet site after they did not get a reply to a letter to Mumsnet’s lawyers demanding the removal of the “rockets to Lebanon” comments.

But last night Ms Roberts said: “That is a little rich given that Ms Ford demanded the closure of the site within hours of making the original complaint. Even the most demanding lawyers do not reasonably expect responses to complex legal letters within hours.”

Oh. My own mother wouldn’t expect a reply to an email from me within a few hours, let alone if the email was a complex legal one! Maybe a quick follow-up phone call would have been more effective and less damaging in the long run. Of course, this aggressive behaviour only results in further retaliation and bad press as we can see from the increasingly offensive comments by bloggers. James O’Neill also makes some very good points about traditional PR not keeping up with the technological times.

Anyway, this whole issue will rapidly be popping up in international media (Australia next, apparently) as it snowballs. Whilst the legal issues and arguments are distinctly UK-flavoured, Free Speech and Censorship are universal topics.

And the resounding backlash reminds me of Endemol saint Nikki; I can hear her now…

“Who is she? Who is she?? Where did you find her??”

Good luck Gina – I sincerely hope that for the sake of all online communities, as well as the future security of my own job, that this issue is resolved amicably.

UPDATE 9/8/06 – 14:09: Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet, has posted her own views on the whole issue here.

I have included historical comments posted on the original article in 2007, my views do not necessarily correspond with those posted below and the comments are owned by the posters. Feel free to use the comments box below to add any thoughts!

Comments

Breaking the Rules

eeore
09 Aug 2006 12:29

I too am boycotting BB, and come to think of it Channel 4 as well…. well apart from the Simpsons.

It is the sheer unfairness of what has happened that has annoyed me.

Gina Ford has shot herself in the foot big-time. I am an expectant father, and my partner is currently wading her way through baby books, but there is one book that we will not be reading…. can you guess which one?

As for the legal issues. It reminds me of the line from the Simpsons, ‘this is the most trumped up case since my suit against the film, The Never Ending Story.’

Been there, see it now get the T-Shirt

Miserable Bugger
09 Aug 2006 20:39

Larger image at http://zoom.cafepress.com/1/13907011_zoom.jpg

Just to let you know

Emily
17 Aug 2006 10:28

Blogger ate my blog. If you want to continue reading it (as I know you were interested in the Gina Ford stuff) then you can find it at www.doingitallagain.com

I am trying as best I can to let people know as Blogger has locked me out and I can’t post a redirection.

Thanks

Emily

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