In a SENSATIONAL development in the long-running HorseWorld financial mismanagement saga, bosses at the struggling charity have attempted to use legal threats to SILENCE critics – including your very own ‘Smiter’, The BRISTOLIAN!
On Friday 14 February we received our very own Valentine’s message from our web hosts, who informed us that they’d received a lawyer’s letter on behalf of HorseWorld Trust demanding that they “remove or disable access to the Bristolian [sic] immediately and remove its content from the public domain” by 5pm today, or… Umm… Else!
This follows similar pressure recently brought to bear on University of Bristol student newspaper Epigram and, we understand, the Chew Valley Gazette, as well as laughable attempts to shut down criticism on Twitter.
Sources close to managing director Mark ‘Not That One’ Owen’s Whitchurch Führerbunker have also told us that “legal threats and letters are being dished out left, right and centre” at HorseWorld, in addition to “face-to-face ‘discussions’ and ‘meetings’ with staff/ex-staff, insiders etc thought to be whistleblowing.”
We stand by the accuracy of what we have published about HorseWorld’s management in the pages of The BRISTOLIAN and online over the past ten months. In those ten months we have received not one single, solitary word of complaint – by letter, email, tweet or telephone – from HorseWorld, alleging any kind of inaccuracy or demanding any kind of corrections.
In fact, when a commenter pointed out a minor error in one of our HorseWorld stories, we immediately rectified it, in a transparent fashion.
No, instead it seems that Mark Owen or those around him have chosen to hire lawyers – at a rate of what we are reliably informed amounts to around £400 PER LETTER – to skulk around in the shadows, threatening any and all who question the direction of the charity’s leadership.
Now, if it looks like censorship, sounds like censorship and smells like censorship, then it’s probably an attempt at censorship.
For this reason, and because we want to continue giving a voice to all those low-paid workers at HorseWorld who have sacrificed so much to the charity yet who now face the chop whilst those who caused the problems keep their fat salaries, The BRISTOLIAN will NOT be removing any HorseWorld stories without good reason – at 5pm today, 5pm tomorrow or 5pm the day after.
If you want to waste yet more charitable donations trying to silence a newspaper which has been publishing accurate stories, fair comment and reasonable supposition, then go ahead. We’ll see you in court.