Tulisa Contostavlos libel case agency blasts 'lying' PR professionals

The co-founder of Hackford Jones, which last week launched a defamation action against a journalism blog, has attacked 'lying' celeb PR professionals for creating 'huge levels of suspicion' around the industry.

Hackford Jones founder: Simon Jones
Hackford Jones founder: Simon Jones

Simon Jones spoke out following the news that his lawyers had commenced legal action against media blog Fleet Street Blues over an article claiming the agency had denied X Factor’s Tulisa Contostavlos was involved in an online sex tape.

Of the blog, which examined the issue of PROs lying to press, he said:

‘I know there are a lot of people that do lie to the media and tabloids and that’s why they get a bad rap, but we don’t and we would never do that on behalf of our clients. If people think you’re a liar they will not come to you with stories.’

Though the agency is not directly named in the blog, which is now only open to invited readers, Jones said that it was read by industry insiders and the identity of the agency would be obvious.

He added that he actually agreed with the broad premise of the article, which said that as the press faced scrutiny in the Leveson Inquiry, so should PROs.

Jones, whose agency also works with artists like One Direction and Alexandra Burke, said he did not expect the website to be closed, but wanted the story to be taken down and an apology issued.

He picked out smaller celebrity agencies as areas where the practice might be particularly prevalent.

He argued that not having to deal with the same magazines and papers on a daily basis meant such agencies believed they could 'get away with it'.

He said: ‘It’s hugely unhelpful for everyone else trying to create a clear line of dialogue and truth, and I think it’s an easy get-out clause for people and not running a story past people. I know it galls the celebrity media, they get angry about it and there’s a huge level of suspicion over celeb PRs because of it.’

Talks are currently ongoing between Hackford Jones and Fleet Street Blues. PRWeek was unable to reach Fleet Street Blues for comment at the time of publishing.

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