I don’t really think that Dylan Sharpe doesn’t understand what he did wrong. But after reading the article above, I realise that he’s clearly not very bright, and it’s just possible that I’m misjudging him. So I thought I’d be kind and put together a quick breakdown of why people are upset at him and are calling him a cockwomble. (Great phrase, by the way). I’ve underlined a few key words to help make it easier to follow.
Dear Dylan Sharpe (aka Cockwomble),
1. Your newspaper, who you officially represent (being the PR person) has for years published pictures of topless women. Many people (men and women) find this demeaning and think that it belittles women. Some women have started a campaign asking the newspaper to stop doing it.
2. This week, your newspaper deliberately set out to trick those women into believing that it had stopped, then suddenly restarted. That sort of trick is intended to demean and belittle the person it is played on.
Before you say “but I did warn you that we hadn’t said we’d stop”, let me quote your “apology”.
Between late afternoon on Monday, until Wednesday evening, I refused to comment on speculation about the demise of page 3. That was my job and I executed it, despite upsetting a number of journalists I considered good friends.
Then, on Wednesday night, came ‘the big reveal’. Oh how we laughed.
Does that sound like someone who was trying to correct an unfortunate misapprehension, or someone playing a trick to make others look stupid? To belittle and demean them, in fact?
3. Then, having deliberately played a trick to try to make the “No More Page 3” campaigners look stupid, you tweeted some of them a picture of a topless woman – the very thing that (see point 1) they found demeaning and belittling.
4. Not content with that, you included another woman – Harriet Harman – who wasn’t even part of the campaign. She just, for no apparent reason, had a man tweet a gloating picture of a naked woman into her Twitter feed. She probably found that to be demeaning and belittling too.
5. Those women were angry at you. Other woman were angry at you. Lots of men were also angry at you. You thought this was surprising and unfair. Do you still think so?
I’m not sure if this helps to clear things up. If you can’t piece it together from this, then there’s probably no point trying to explain further. If some daylight is starting to dawn, however, maybe you could try apologising again, properly? It won’t undo the damage. But it might (might) make people believe you’re not a total cockwomble.
PS. Those death threats. Could you retweet a couple? Just so that we know you’re not lying? Because – no offence – you’ve got form for lying in recent days, and apparently you feel no remorse if you think it’s part of your job. So, while I hate to doubt your word, I have reason to do so. If you have genuinely received death threats, then that is of course unacceptable. You should report them to the police. They might follow up on them for you. Caroline Criado-Perez can walk you through the procedure, she’s been there.