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Ben Stokes Slams The Sun for 'Immoral and Heartless' Family Tragedy Story

The Sun has not responded to Stokes' statement.

Cricketnext Staff |September 17, 2019, 11:52 PM IST
Ben Stokes Slams The Sun for 'Immoral and Heartless' Family Tragedy Story

England all-rounder Ben Stokes slammed The Sun for publishing a story about a family tragedy from 31 years ago, describing the reporting as immoral and heartless.

Stokes took to Twitter to slam the newspaper, which on its front page printed a story alleging that his family, based in New Zealand, had to deal with what Stokes describes as a private trauma.

"Today The Sun has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details about events in the private lives of my family going back 31 years," Stokes said.

"It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism. I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.

"For more than three decades, my family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private what were deeply personal and traumatic events.

"On Saturday, The Sun sent a 'reporter' to my parents' home in New Zealand to question them, out of the blue, on this incredibly upsetting topic.

"If that wasn't bad enough, The Sun think it is acceptable to sensationalise our personal tragedy for their front page.

"To use my name as an excuse to shatter the privacy and private lives of - in particular - my parents, is utterly disgusting."

Sun's story alleged that Stokes' mother's two children Tracey, eight, and Andrew, four, were killed by her ex Richard Dunn in 1988, before Stokes’ birth.

Stokes said he's aware that he would be subject to scrutiny given his public profile, but called Sun's story 'totally out of order' with 'serious inaccuracies'.

"I am aware that my public profile brings with it consequences for me that I accept entirely," he said. "But I will not allow my public profile to be used as an excuse to invade the rights of my parents, my wife, my children or other family members.

"They are entitled to a private life of their own. The decision to publish these details has grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular.

"This is the lowest form of journalism, focused only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence.

"It is totally out of order. The article also contains serious inaccuracies which has compounded the damaged caused.

"We need to take a serious look at how we allow our press to behave.

"Despite the fact that this has now been made public, I do please ask all concerned to respect my family's privacy and right to home life."

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison condemned The Sun's reporting.

“We, like the wider sporting world, are disgusted and appalled at the actions taken in revealing the tragic events from Ben’s past.

“We are saddened that an intrusion of this magnitude was deemed necessary in order to sell newspapers or secure clicks.

“Ben’s exploits this summer have cemented his place in cricket’s history – we are sure the whole sport, and the country, stands behind him in support.”

The Sun defended themselves, saying they had contacted Stokes prior to publication but received no objection.

A Sun spokesperson said: "The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures.

"The tragedy is also a matter of public record and was the subject of extensive front page publicity in New Zealand at the time.

"The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story."

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