A smear on Scouts

The Media Council has upheld a complaint against Stuff. The background:

Stuff ran an article on June 11, 2018 headlined “Scout leader who molested nine-year-old boy jailed for five years”

A follow up article published the following day was headlined “Paedo’s unhealthy Scout fetish: ‘Creep’ was ‘an oversized little boy’.”

The same articles were published in the Waikato Times on both days under shorter headlines “Scout leader molested boy” and “Paedo’s ‘unhealthy’ Scout fetish”.

But here is the thing. He wasn’t a Scout leader. He had been thrown out in 2015, before his offending.

After he was thrown out he set up his own youth group (which should have been a huge warning to people), but it wasn’t a scout group.

The Council found:

Nimmo could have accurately, and just as readily, been described as a youth leader. It would have been as compelling without tainting the Scouts, an organisation which has a brand which it has a right to protect. It did, after all, dismiss Nimmo before the offending took place and should not bear an unwarranted taint for his subsequent crimes.

A good decision.

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