Monday, June 04, 2007

Jon Snow and Precious Williams: A mystery tale

This is an amended version of the original piece which included statements I am no longer comfortable with.

Most mystifying story of the day is why a writer called Precious Williams would have concocted a story about having a six-year affair with Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow while he lived with barrister Madeleine Colvin.

Over two weeks in May the Mail on Sunday ran a torrid account of his purported relationship with Williams. “The pair smoked marijuana, talked about books and politics and he seduced her with his 'chivalrous charm',” ran one purple sentence, a line that now looks like a crude attempt at Truman Capote’s non-fiction novel approach to journalism. Then yesterday, the paper ran this:

“Over the past two Sundays we published stories claiming that TV news presenter Jon Snow had an affair with a writer called Precious Williams, and that they smoked cannabis together. There is no truth in these allegations. We accept that in fact Mr Snow never had any relationship with Miss Williams, and that the allegation of drug taking was unfounded. We are happy to set the record straight, and we apologise for the embarrassment caused.”

MediaGuardian reports: "In a statement, Mr Snow said: 'The stories about me in the Mail on Sunday ... were entirely fabricated and caused myself, my family and my friends considerable distress. This has been one of the most upsetting and difficult experiences of my life.'"

For sight of Ms Williams see her website. A link takes you to another site wherein her history is briefly told including the information that she now works for the Mail on Sunday – or did. I can’t imagine she’ll be in Derry Street much longer if she hasn't been kicked out already.

For a fuller account of Williams' life, go to her Telegraph piece.

The mystery of this story is ongoing.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The most puzzling aspect in this scandalous story is -er - why on earth did she choose to tell such a pack of lies about JON SNOW. I like him on C4 News, he has a great line in ties and I am sure is in every sense an ace bloke but he isn`t very.. I don`t know.. sexy.Nor does he seem at all the sort of man to behave in this way. Weird choice of victim.
SUSAN HILL

Anonymous said...

No, the most puzzling aspect of the story is why the Mail doesn't give a fuck about truth any more.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

She certainly used to work for the Independent. Or was it the Sindy? Can't remember. But certainly there was never a journalist more aptly named...But what a dreadful thing to do. Surely the MoS would have asked for some form of proof. Or maybe they just had a fling and she turned it into a 6 year affair...

Anonymous said...

She doesn't write very well does she?

Anonymous said...

According to wikipedia he is fond of cinnamon whirls - a new name for ganga?

Anonymous said...

Duh! Anyone who knows anything about journalism knows that 1. a paper like the Mail on Sunday would not run such a story without having had sight of some evidence. 2. Just because they issued an apology doesn't mean the story wasn't true. And 3. The woman doesn't look ugly to me.

Anonymous said...

Met someone who knew her many years ago and he didn't have anything good to say about her. He said he found her 'story' about being a foster child in the Telegraph really upsetting. Not because of what happened to her but because SHE has a young daughter who she farmed out so that she could pursue her career. Like her, her own daughter didn't want to live with her as she doesn't want to be wrenched away from the people that have raised and cared for her. The spin on that article makes it seem as if Ms Williams is some poor only child (she has brothers) who was more sinned against than sinner. From what he says, she's calculating enough to make a up story to get ahead... Saying that, maybe he made the stuff up about the secret kid. Would love someone to confirm/debunk his story!

Anonymous said...

What a sad, snide site. I knew Williams at school in Midhurst and met her when we were both 13 and I´m still in touch with her. She was an only child and I remember that she lived with a rather strange white foster parent. She doesn´t have any siblings although obviously she might have half siblings from her birth parents whom she barely seemed to see at all. At school she was always the darling of the English teachers but she was extremely quiet and would barely say boo to a goose. I´ve followed her career and I think anyone who says she doesn´t have writing talent is just being both jealous and a coward (I notice none of you post your real names). If she had a secret daughter it must have been very secret indeed because Midhurst is a small town and I certainly never saw her pregnant or with a child!

Claire

Ross said...

I seem to be one of the few people who knows what happened. Snow was knocking off Williams but it was just a fling. David Dillon, the Mail on Sunday´s despised news editor, got wind of the story. Only to the Mail on Sunday could the ´scandal´ of Jon Snow getting the leg over with a coke-snorting black chick be worthy of such lavish coverage. Mail on Sunday home affairs reporter Jo Knowsley was sent to butter up Williams and get an interview. Then it all went horribly wrong. Williams at first refused to do an interview at all. Then she insisted on only doing the interview under a confidentiality agreement that prevented the Mail on Sunday publishing the interview without Williams approving it beforehand and signing a formal contract. The Mail on Sunday offered Williams 5 grand and she laughed at the sum. Then she pulled out entirely. Under pressure from Peter Wright who had become obsessed with the story, David Dillon pressed Jo Knowsley to charm Williams into signing a contract. Williams continued to refuse to sign a contract. Then, the Mail on Sunday threw caution to the wind and published the interview with Williams even though Williams had never signed the contract which meant that the Mail on Sunday were in breach of their confidentiality agreement. Williams went ape when she saw that the Mail on Sunday had gone ahead and published the piece. Snow went ape, not over the claims that he shagged Williams but over the drug allegations. According to his solicitor, the description of Snow smoking weed and it having no effect on him portrayed him as "an habitual drug abuser". Snow couldn`t demand an apology for the drug allegations while admitting he did shag Williams and so he denied the whole thing. The Mail on Sunday asked Williams to help them corroborate the story so that they could avoid having to apologize to Snow. Dillon made Knowsley go back to Berlin to butter up Williams and get her to back up the Mail on Sunday story but Williams - out of some misguided loyalty to Snow or maybe because she was just being a treacherous bitch - suddenly switched sides and actually helped Snow´s solicitors get him an apology.

Arcati said...

Thank you Ross - I have posted your comment on the main site.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.