Daily Mail's unconvincing apology to Sam Armytage

By Jane Gilmore
Wed 14 December 15:12 AEDT
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The Daily Mail has amended its controversial article about Sam Armytage and added a line at the end claiming it is apologising for “any distress caused to Ms Armytage or readers more generally”.

The Mail has removed references to Armytage’s underpants.

Photos of her out shopping, with accompanying descriptions of her being “make-up free”, wearing sun glasses and having her hair in a ponytail, are still in the article - as are links to and a summary of a Daily Telegraph article speculating about her private life.

Also of concern, the Daily Mail article still identifies the suburb she shops in and even the specific shops she goes to.

As apologies go, this is not particularly convincing.

Does the Daily Mail believe its only transgression was to critique a woman’s underwear? While this is reprehensible, devoting an entire article to paparazzi photos of a woman out shopping, commenting on her appearance, disclosing her location and speculating on her private life are also exemplars of trashy sexist journalism, likely to distress the subject.

As Margaret Simons, Uncovered’s editor in chief and Director of Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism recently told the New Daily:

“I think commenting on the personal appearance of television personalities during private moments is well beyond the bounds of legitimate journalism.

“It is particularly concerning to see this kind of demeaning reporting about female journalists at a time when sexual harassment in the newsroom is in the headlines.

“Reflect for a moment on the attitudes that must be held by the reporter, sub-editor and editor for this kind of nasty tosh to get published. I wouldn’t want to work for them.

“Armytage should be allowed to go about her daily life without this kind of rubbish. Yes, she is a celebrity but that does not negate her right to a private life.

“But the real worry is the attitudes to women displayed here. We are all increasingly aware, I hope, of violence against women and the key causal factor of derogatory attitudes towards women. The media has an important role to play here in influencing social attitudes and showing respect to women.

The people involved with this publication should be hanging their heads in shame.”

Running an apology under an article that continues to demean the recipient of the apology is both insulting to Armytage and makes the Daily Mail look disingenuous at best. It is also ludicrous.

Finally, it is probably relevant to know that this “apology” comes after Buzzfeed quoted Armytage as saying the issue is "with the lawyers".