Friday, November 22, 2013


Dear Readers,

         You would think that the BBC that well known pillar of British broadcasting that sets a high standard of investigative journalism with programmes like Panorama would know what cyber-bullying is. In the case of my son Simon Abbott the corporation couldn’t even recognise it after looking up its definition in the dictionary.
         But then white wash was clouding its vision and it was even more difficult to see things clearly when one of its own had been doing the bullying.
         This is what happened when I complained to Jon Gripton, head of the BBC in the Channel Island of Jersey, that Murray Norton, one of his radio presenters had cyber-bullied my son (See my posts DID CYBER-BULLIES KILL SIMON ABBOTT; CYBER WOLVES HUNTING SIMON ABBOTT  etc). It was after my son had died of a heart attack in Jersey aged 47 and I was unaware that he had previous complained to Gripton.
         I sent him a comprehensive dossier that included extracts from the court records of when Simon sued Norton, his photographer friend Ian le Sueur and six others for libel in a desperate bid to get them to stop trashing his name on social media.  

Gripton replied with this brush off. He said he and the BBC complaints team had previously investigated what I had raised after Simon had complained. He added that he did not condone cyber-bullying and refuted any allegation that BBC Radio Jersey initiated or condoned this. He told me that if I didn’t agree I should take the matter up with the Jersey Police.
It was only after I emailed him the same day saying he had neglected to tell me what the result was of his investigations that he replied saying that they found Simon’s and your allegations against the BBC unfounded.
Norton, he wrote, was a freelance and he had told Simon that if he had a complaint against Norton outside his work for the BBC he should pursue it elsewhere as it was not for me to investigate.
I told Gripton that he protesteth too much as I had never suggested that the BBC was involved in cyber-bullying or that it endorsed it. I told him that if the BBC considered this totally unacceptable it was warped morality for it to say it wasn’t its problem if a freelance did this in his spare time because it could still reflect on the BBC.
I also told him he was not convincing when he claimed that he personally did not condone cyber-bullying and I asked: Wasn’t it you who stated it was ‘very amusing’ when somebody was cyber-bullying Shona Pitman, a member of the Jersey parliament, with ‘particularly offensive comments’? In the same Tweet you mocked her husband Trevor.
A couple of days later Gripton sent me an outline of how Simon’s complaint was handled. This made our BBC chief look even more ridiculous. He stated that he got Simon’s complaint in October 2011 and he then made Norton aware of his responsibilities as a freelance presenter working on the BBC, stressed the need for impartiality and reiterated the need to bear this in mind in any dealings in his personal social media or indeed elsewhere.
What! Was this the same person he was talking about when he told Simon that what Norton did outside his work for the BBC was not for me to investigate?
GRIPTON coming out.
Further down the outline he sent me Gripton made himself look an even bigger Charlie by stating: I was of course aware of his (Norton’s) postings on his private Facebook page, but felt, following  my investigations, that this was not a matter for the BBC.
And although he describes himself as a social media wizard Gripton forgot that on Norton’s Facebook page he is listed as his friend since 2011. And that he was also in the Facebook circle and was one of the Twitter followers of Norton’s friend Le Sueur, who aided and abetted Norton in bullying Simon.
So don’t you think you should have got somebody else to investigate Simon’s complaint as you could hardly be described as an impartial judge, I asked him.

That was when he decided to pass the buck up the line to David Holdsworth, Controller, English Regions, BBC News.
Absolutely DEVINE
As Simon had earlier got no joy from Gripton he had complained to the BBC’s Regional Head, Leo Devine, who did his own investigation and still sided with Gripton.
A couple of days ago Holdsworth came back to me with his decision. He supported his subordinates who had found no evidence that Murray Norton had engaged in or incited cyber-bullying on either BBC or personal accounts, or on public websites.
Holdsworth also concluded that the investigations were properly done.

But how odd is this? According to Holdsworth Divine spoke to Norton, who had ceased posting any comments about Simon Abbott in 2011, after your son had complained and confirmed that he would not be posting further comments.

Norton was doing nothing wrong in the BBC’s eyes, but he suddenly stops doing it when Simon complains. Well actually that’s not quite true. He fired at least one last salvo at Simon on his Facebook page in about November 2011.

This is what he said: I have pretty much run out of patience with this guy. I’ve met him, tried to help him (like hell) and he has even had the cheek to complain to the BBC that I am harassing him. The Police and the press and possibly the taxation authorities must be sent all complaints, with hard evidence that Simon has actually done something wrong, if they are to do something. In Surrey, where his late sister lived, the local Sutton newspaper is tracking him and have been in touch. In Devon the press are following him. I got this the other day. Damien Mills: ‘Hi I’m a journalist in Exeter, Devon, where Simon Abbott is staging another of his infamous fashion shows.’ Give him a shout and tell him your stories and concerns. My concern is his constant appealing to the ‘wannabe’ mentality of young girls asking for models for events that do not exist. He appears to get some replies for unsuspecting girls, some of whom give their details and even phone numbers. Simon, if you are reading this, which my friends he might be, give it up, come clean on the finances of the Trust, put the items you claim to have from the famous to good use. I’ll auction them for some people in real need instead of fake events that help no-one, even those of us trying to raise funds.
Helpfully Holdsworth included this Oxford Dictionary definition of cyber-bullying in his letter to me. It is the use of information technology to bully a person by sending or posting text or images of an intimidating or threatening nature.

Well I don’t think anybody who understands the English language would possibly say that this comment of Norton’s was anything other than intimidating and threatening.

Evidently three of the BBC’s senior executives thought otherwise.

What made it even worse was that this painted Simon as a rogue when there was no evidence to support this at all. Had this been the case the Police would have acted against him which was something that never happened.
All Simon was trying to do was to raise money for the Samantha Abbott Trust. He set this up to help women suffering from post natal depression, because that was what his sister was suffering from when she committed suicide.

The entire emphasis of the BBC’s investigation appears to have been on what Norton actually posted with the result that no mention is made of what Norton’s photographer friend, Ian le Sueur got up to clearly at Norton’s instigation. Norton organised for Le Sueur to snatch a picture of Simon when he met Simon at a church. 
Le Sueur then used this picture to bully Simon on the internet and to enable their fellow bullies to identify Simon whenever he went out so they could post further harassing messages with the result that he was scared to leave home alone towards the end of his life. 
And as Norton organised for the picture to be taken he must share the blame for what Le Sueur did with it.

SIMON'S cry for help after LE SUEUR was spamming Twitter with his picture calling him a con man

Was that not clearly inciting cyber-bullying or am I once again confusing plain English with double Dutch?
That's LE SUEUR'S business

If I, as an outsider, could find out that Gripton had a jocular view of cyber-bullying and was too close to both Norton and Le Sueur to judge this matter impartially surely, if the BBC’s sleuths did not already know about it, they could have found out.
So the only inference one can reasonably draw is that they chose to ignore it because it reflected badly on Gripton and as such on the way the investigation was handled.
Wouldn’t this be a good one for Panorama or better still CNN’s 60 Minutes.



  1. Mr. Abbott.

    When I complained to Jon Gripton about another of his BBC staff seemingly promoting a different internet hate-site he told me "I have investigated the matters you raise" but refused to tell me anything about his "investigation." Naturally he defended his staff member's actions.

    You will no doubt find a number of similarities between my complaint, and that of your own, which can be read HERE.

  2. It appears there are some parallels in how your complaints have been handled as with mine. The connecting factor in both is Jon Gripton.

    You rightly raise the disgraceful episode where he endorsed a cyber-bully attacking Shona Pitman. I complained to the national BBC about this at the time. In the reply, just like to you, he said the he did endorse "cyber-bullying" when I had never alleged that they did, but rather that on one occasion they specifically endorsed a particular cyber-bully. That is a totally different thing, but he refused to accept culpability for it.

    When people are in charge who don't understand the meaning of the word "accountability", there isn't much hope for any one.

  3. When I was young I witnessed bulllying. The bullying I witnessed was wrong, but was also able to rationalize that the girl being bullied was not my friend. In that way, I could convince myself that it was not my place to defend and stop the bullying. Now I realize it was wrong and we have to stop bullying! I'm glad I heard about this service. They protect kids by locating them through their GPS location whenever they are in trouble and kids could also press a panic button if they need help at anytime and anywhere. It's a good mobile device from SafeKidZone. and here's the link.

  4. .Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you. When you get angry at a waiter, a sales clerk, another driver on the road, or even your child, you have a great opportunity to model effective communication techniques. Don’t blow it by blowing your top! Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is ok.Bullying does much more damage than you'll ever know. When you have thoughts of bullying or doing or saying anything mean to anyone—don't do it, just let it go.Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. Don't let your child be one of the victim bring protection with check this out at!/page_home.

  5. I am trying to get the full facts and the failings of Jersey system and local media on this and other cases but can not find any Court record in a successful libel conviction. Is this as another cover up in Jersey's judicial service?

  6. Jersey's judicial system is as corrupt as almost any banana republic you can find, whenever it involves the feudalist establishment or any of their critics. It works only when all parties involved are of no significance to those in power. When the judicial system is put to an ethical test on matters of the establishment, it fails every time. The whole Jersey system allows no outside scrutiny and no inside criticism. In fact, when the worst state-sponsored abuse of children was being uncovered, the man who rules the island, Sir Philip Bailhache, announced in his Liberation Day speech, that the "real tragedy" was to the island reputation (and not what was done to helpless child rape victims, some of whom have never been accounted for and may have been killed) so that's the kind of leadership you are dealing with in Jersey.

    I wish you the best.