Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Precious Williams makes a statement

Statement to Madame Arcati by Precious Williams

I can confirm that I am pursuing a defamation claim against the Mail on Sunday.

I can also confirm that the Mail on Sunday approached me regarding this story, and not vice versa. The paper approached me following tip-offs which their news editor claims he received from reliable sources. A reporter from the paper arrived out of the blue at my home in Berlin several days before the first of the articles ran. I did not agree to do an interview. The paper ran a story on me on 20th May regardless. No money exchanged hands.

The Mail on Sunday was forced to issue an apology to Jon Snow because the paper could not prove that Snow "smoked and inhaled" cannabis, as was claimed.

I am not a member of staff at the Mail on Sunday, nor have I ever been. The Mail on Sunday has published around 35 of my articles over the years, mainly lengthy interviews with celebrities. Legal action has never been brought against the paper by any of the subjects I have interviewed and the Mail on Sunday has never had to publish a retraction as a result of anything I have produced for them.

I am neither seeking publicity. While the Mail on Sunday is correct in saying that I have written a memoir, the book is about my childhood, does not feature Jon Snow and is not published until next year.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

And my minge is a Ferrari!

Anonymous said...

'I am neither seeking publicity'. You can hardly string two words together can you?

jadedexhack said...

Someone here is lying big style. it can only be Precious or Snow. MoS sources claim that Precious has form for "embellishing" articles and her so called celebrity interviews. However, Snow has form for being a ladies' man and probably did have a relationship with her. Crux is the MoS's shoddy journalism meant they failed to nail the story properly, by double checking PW's story. Let that be a lesson. Also, if Snow felt so wronged - how come he's not going for damages. Reckon he called their bluff!

Anonymous said...

I remember a few years ago, when I worked at the Independent on Sunday, running into Precious Williams, who was at the time a freelance hackette. She seemed nice, but vapid, and I was not surprised when the paper ended its association with her on the grounds that her stories were, it was suggested, just a tad, er, fanciful. How wonderful, therefore, to see that her talents, in spite of that setback, continue to be exploited to the full.

simon said...

It's worth looking at the precise wording of the MoS apology, particularly the final 's'. It's pretty clear that the apology covers the story about the affair as well as the weed-smoking.

"The Mail on Sunday 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."

Anonymous said...

Precious was warned by former Sindy dep ed Michael Williams that working at the Sindy would mean that she would have to stop writing freelance pieces for other newspapers. But within weeks of starting at the Sindy, freelance pieces bearing Precious´s byline appeared in both the Standard and the Sunday Times. Precious claimed they were pieces she´d written and filed before she joined the Sindy. But over the months her byline appeared in the Standard again and also in Marie Claire, prompting Michael Williams to warn her that if it happened again, she´d be in trouble. Within weeks, Precious wrote another piece for the Standard, flagrantly breaching her contract with the Sindy. Michael Williams hauled Precious in and asked her to explain herself. Seems she was making it very clear that she didn`t take the Sindy gig that seriously. I remember there was a lot of bad feeling among Sindy staff about a young black woman having so much attitude and confidence in herself. I see that feeling prevails here, lol. To give the woman her due though she is a gifted lass and some of the commentary here smells of hateration.

Anonymous said...

She really isn't that great a writer. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

'ang on a minute, are we all talking about the same person here? I ran a cuts search on Precious Williams and she appears to have written 300 or so features for the Financial Times, Times, Guardian etc?

Anonymous said...

"MoS sources claim that Precious has form for "embellishing" articles and her so called celebrity interviews."
those MoS "sources" being Nick Pyke, deputy features editor, Mail on Sunday.

"at the independent on sunday....her stories were, it was suggested, just a tad, er, fanciful."
the IoS source making this claim being, er, Nick Pyke, former deputy news editor at the Independent on Sunday.

Sounds like a hate-hate relationship between Williams and Pyke.

jadedexhack said...

As someone with knowledge of both the sindy and the MoS, the fingered of Pyke sounds accurate. Although, I have to say that it's well known on Fleet Street that Williams "interviews" were a bit flaky in terms of sourcing. Which might be why she's not had any published recently and has resorted to kiss and tells. Yawn.

Arcati said...

Thank you for your comments - I have posted what maybe a true account of what happened.

Anonymous said...

If Williams interviews were that flaky it seems unlikely that she would have had so many of them published and over such a long period of time. No one's come up with a case of a lawsuit brought as a result of one of Williams's interviews. For these reasons this suggestion that she was "known" for telling porkie pies in her articles does not ring true with me. If it were the case, why would commissioning editors commission her again and again? It's not like there aren't plenty of other freelancers to choose from. I tend to think this stuff about her being flaky probably stems from rumours put about by fellow hacks she's pissed off for one reason or another. Another snippet, according to Publisher's Weekly Williams's book sold at auction and she got a six-figure book contract in 2005. I'd fucking well scale back on journalism too if I got that kind of book advance.

Ex Sindy Staffer said...

Williams's work caught my eye in the late 90s. She had an excellent investigative piece published in the Times magazine about the Nation of Islam where she had actually joined the Nation in order to write about them. Then there was a 5000 word piece from her on black-on-black crime in the Sunday Times magazine. This Sunday Times magazine piece prompted Janet Street Porter to call Robin Morgan and enquire about this new writer called Precious Williams. Morgan gave Williams a glowing report and said that her work barely even needed to be edited. Janet Street Porter then contacted Williams and invited her into the Sindy for a chat, got her to do a bit of freelancing for the paper and a few weeks later offered her a job. Williams was to write across the supplements and features pages as well as the Focus pages and news pages. To be fair, the news team regarded her with suspicion and even hostility because they hated Street Porter and it was Street Porter who had brought Williams in. The person Williams seemed to clash with most was Nick Pyke. Williams's talent was never in question among Sindy staff, she wrote prolifically at the Sindy and all of her stuff was competent, some of it was excellent. She seemed very unhappy at the Sindy though and seemed to socialise more with Michael Williams's black secretary than with the other writers. Williams's race was made into a big issue, not necessarily in a negative way but these were the post-Lawrence years with much talk of institutional racism. Williams was the only non-white Sindy staffer. Sometimes Williams's byline was put on news stories that she hadn't even written, for political reasons, which particularly inflamed Nick Pyke. After about 6 or 7 months of this, Williams swanned in one day and said she was planning on leaving to go freelance. I remember Nick Pyke telling her that to do so would be "career suicide" and that if she quit the Sindy so soon no other paper would give her a job. I guess he then went out of his way to try and make sure no other paper DID give her a job. There was no love lost there, that's for sure. He thought she was a cocky little upstart and yes Pyke has been putting out stories about her ever since and has seemed slightly obsessed with her, taking his longstanding resentment of her to the MoS with him. I wouldn't be surprised if the tip about the affair with Jon Snow actually came from Nick Pyke.

Simon Kelner's Nemesis said...

There has been some talk here(generated by Nick Pyke no doubt) of the Sindy "declining to renew Williams's contract" back when she worked for them. All bullshit. I worked with Williams in 2000 and I know for a fact that she left the Sindy of her own volition before her contract was even up for renewal. I'm sure a call to Sindy HR would confirm this.

Although I enjoyed working with Williams I actually encouraged her to leave, because she was being treated like shit at the paper. I am one of a handful of ex Sindy staff (of course the Sindy no longer really has staff, we're all exes) who have recently heard from Williams out of the blue asking precisely what Nick Pyke's problem is and how long he has been spreading stories about her. At first I thought she was being paranoid but now I am seeing where she was coming from with her questions. Williams has always seemed a very nice girl, if slightly wild on the drugs and dress sense front. Have always considered her quite fetching to look at.

Simon Kelner's Nemesis said...

NB. I've asked around, because I am curious. Williams has (according to cuts and general gossip) written for the FT, the Telegraph, the Times, Sunday Times, the Express, the Mail on Sunday, the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Guardian, the Indie, the Sindy, the Big Issue and "most women's magazines". I couldn't find a single account of anyone trying to sue any of those publications over features written by Williams. I heard of a complaint where an interview didn't like what had been written about him and complained that Williams "had seemed such a sweet girl". I heard of another complaint from a celebrity who claimed Williams had embellished his quotes but then promptly withdrew his complaint when he remembered that the interview had been taped. Nothing else concrete. Weird how rumours spread, isn't it? This reminds me of the vicious, hateful things I've heard said about the black 3Am girl, Eva Simpson. Although there are rumours flowing that Simpson is talentless, an air-head, embellishes stories and so on, in reality she is a hard-working, talented and unassuming lass. So's Williams in my experience.

Anonymous said...

I was in the room at the IoS in those days too, and that snide little suggestion of institutional racism is total and utter nonsense. I am not Nick Pyke and I am not a particular friend of his. I have not spoken to him in years. I do remember, though, that colleagues were not hostile towards her, quite the opposite - they reserved their bile for the other Williams. She was on sick leave when a picture byline piece appeared in the Standard. Then she didn't come back. Go figure.

Madame Arcati said...

Candida Williams - would you get in touch with me privately - madamearcati69@aol.com. Thanks