The Press Council has smacked down the Daily Mail over an article it published in September last year, which made fun of ‘The Bachelor’ host Osher Günsberg‘s weight gain.
The piece published a bunch of paparazzi pics of a shirtless Osher while on location in Bali for the finale of ‘The Bachelor’. It was basically a body-shaming hit piece, using phrases like “portly frame and unkempt hair” while dedicating the entire second half of the article to a history of Osher’s public comments about his weight.
Osher has spoken publicly in the past about his dealings with mental illness, and in his formal complaint to the Press Council, attributed his weight gain to a side effect of the medication he was taking to manage said mental illness.
He also said that he has taken great care not to be photographed shirtless in the past, regardless of his weight.
The Daily Mail justified its trash article by bringing up Osher’s status as both a public figure and as someone who has discussed both his weight and his mental illness in the past.
It also made the staggeringly big claim that “the reference to ‘Bali belly’ was a pun based on his being in Bali and showing his belly, and was not intended as an insult.”
The Press Council handed down its ruling today, and found that the piece absolutely was not in the public interest, and that the Daily Mail failed to take reasonable steps to ensure substantial offence or distress was caused.
“The Council considers the subject matter of the article did not relate to the complainant’s public activities,” it said. “Photographs of a celebrity will frequently not breach a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, given the fairly remote location, the care exercised by the complainant in the past to not be photographed shirtless, his lack of alternatives in the circumstances and the covert nature of the photographs, he retained a reasonable expectation of privacy which was intruded upon by the photographs and the references to “Bali belly”. There was no public interest to justify such an intrusion. Accordingly, the publication breached General Principle 5 and Privacy Principle 1.
The Council considers the complainant’s history of mental illness and weight gain are in the public domain as a result of the complainant’s own doing and are well known. But by referring to “Bali belly”, and using the photographs in the manner it did, the article went beyond those matters to ridicule the consequences of his mental illness medication and was likely to cause substantial offence or distress to the complainant for concerns he acknowledged. In this respect, the publication failed to take reasonable steps to avoid causing offence, distress or prejudice to the complainant, without a justifying public interest. Accordingly, the publication breached General Principle 6 in this respect.
However, it found the Daily Mail did not omit key facts or publish blatant lies. It was just a really shit article.
Recently, the Daily Mail vowed to stop ‘fat-shaming’ after it published pics of Sam Armytage wearing “giant granny panties” and was swamped with a tidal wave of backlash.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Osher for comment. Weirdly enough, neither Osh nor the Press Council had anything to say about this absolute travesty:
“Osher, who now splits his time between Sydney and Los Angeles, is better known to fans as Andrew G.”
Photo: Channel 10.