Daily Mail Australia has been censured by the Australian Press Council in the first complaint against the news website to go to adjudication since it joined the council in 2015.
In an article published in September last year, the Daily Mail published paparazzi shots of The Bachelor host Osher Gunsburg, titled “The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg shows off his ‘Bali belly’ as he goes shirtless while filming finale of reality TV show on Indonesian island”.
The photos showed Gunsberg on a public beach in Bali, which were sold to the Daily Mail unsolicited by a picture agency.
The story written around the pictures referred to the Gunsberg as “never [having] a hair out of place” and revealing “his portly frame and unkempt hair”.
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The Press Council found the Mail had breached three of its principles in publishing the article.
Gunsberg told the council in his complaint that although he was a TV host, he had never allowed pictures to be taken of him shirtless, and weight gain had been a side effect of medication he takes for his mental illness. He said the article made him feel shamed and bullied.
Gunsberg did not complain directly to the Mail because, he said in his submission, he did not want any further attention brought to the story.
The council found that Gunsberg was entitled to an expectation of privacy under the circumstances, and there was no public interest to an invasion of his privacy.
It also found that the article ridiculed the consequences of Gunsberg’s medication and “was likely to cause substantial offence or distress to the complainant for concerns he acknowledged”, the adjudication says.
“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,” it said. — Emily Watkins