In one of the least surprising developments in an ongoing story, the Sun newspaper has been forced to remove a report from its website in which a Russian model claims Vladimir Putin is trying to kill her.
The article has since been removed “for legal reasons,” and, some are speculating, probably for some ‘truth’ reasons as well.
Russian-born Anna Shapiro and her British husband Alex King were at the center of another poisoning scare in Salisbury last Sunday in an incident that appeared at first to echo the attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the very same city.
The details were compelling, a reported poisoning in another Italian eatery chain in Salisbury (this time Prezzo), a Russian was involved, and the police closed off streets and deployed specialists in hazmat suits.
The story also carried a hint of too-good-to-be-true, but The Sun was so seduced by Shapiro’s claim that Putin was after her, it ran a front page splash. The fact she was willing to claim “Putin wants me dead” while at the same time doing a sexy photo shoot probably helped.
There was no sign of nerve agents being used, but The Sun claimed to have ‘security sources’ which told them rat poison may have been used against the couple, while claiming King was fighting for his life. Soon after the hospital confirmed that actually both had been discharged.
However, other details began to emerge after the Sun splashed. The police, who have not suggested any crime actually took place, admitted one of their lines of inquiry into what happened in Salisbury’s Prezzo is now whether it may have been a hoax.
Then the BBC reported that King, who was reportedly found foaming at the mouth in the restaurant’s toilet, is a “convicted criminal who once hoaxed Prince Charles” and had previously been convicted of “distributing indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.”
Then the Daily Mirror reported that King is an alleged drug dealer, and Shapiro is a high-class escort who told friends she was a “honeytrap spy” used by Israel’s Mossad to seduce men.
Essentially what appeared to be an extremely questionable story from the very start seems to be disintegrating, so why would a national newspaper decide to run this story at all without doing a basic background checks?
The obvious conclusion is simply that it’s too easy to make any accusation you like about Russia because readers are willing to believe anything in the current political climate.
The Sun said in a statement: “Like any newspaper, we were keen to talk to those at the centre of the incident and give them the opportunity to share with the public their version of events.”
But were they keen to check whether any of it was accurate?
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