Sunday, February 26, 2012

INJUNCTION CELEBS GET TWITTER JITTERS; Fling names rumbled by internet campaign.(News)

Byline: DAVID COLLINS

CHEATING celebrities hiding behind injunctions were left reeling last night after their secrets were exposed by social networkers.

An internet campaign led by Twitter users is defying court gags to identify the stars, including the married footballer who has had an affair with Big Brother's Imogen Thomas.

A single tweeter with more than 42,000 followers claims to "out" famous figures using expensive super-injunctions to keep their disgraceful behaviour secret.

Facebook users have also set up a group dedicated to the subject.

Member Dyl Roberts said: "These people are in the public eye and make millions of pounds on the back of their stardom.

"It's wrong they should be allowed to hide behind the law and it's awesome that they are now being exposed. The whistleblowers deserve a medal."

But there were fears some of the information being sent out online is false or riddled with errors.

Several celebs have already been wrongly named as having brought out injunctions.

Sports presenter Gabby Logan is at the centre of a false rumour she had a fling with soccer pundit Alan Shearer. The mum-of-two issued a fresh denial, tweeting: "I am not and never have."

Jemima Khan has also been wrongly linked to an affair with Jeremy Clarkson. The socialite revealed yesterday she even had a message of support from the Top Gear star's wife Frances.

She also got a text of Clarkson and wrote of the false rumours: "I hope the people who made this story up realise that my son will be bullied at school because of it. Plus I'm getting vile hate tweets." The internet campaign comes as a group of MPs were preparing to launch a bid to change injunction laws. One, Lib Dem John Hemming, said: "There is a lot to learn from the USA where freedom of speech is enshrined in their constitution.

"Where the courts are trying to keep state secrets and Twitter is on the other end, Twitter will win.

"The problem with the current situation is that innocent people will suffer because media outlets which try to get things right are stopped from reporting."

Media lawyer Mark Stephens added: "If you are getting an injunction then you are doing nothing much more than painting a target on your back waiting for the Tweeterati and the blogosphere to come and find you."

A Twitter spokesman said: "On a practical level we simply cannot review 55million-plus tweets delivered every day."

The prostitute who claims she slept with Wayne Rooney said the internet revelations "made a mockery" of the gagging orders.

Helen Wood claimed she knew of one celebrity who has obtained three separate injunctions to keep different affairs secret.

The 24-year-old told Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire: "I'm not one of the women involved.

"There's a list as long as my arm that I know have injunctions against girls right now."

Helen, from Bolton, is at the centre of a super-injunction herself after an affair with an actor.

A judge ruled she could be named, but not the star.

Claiming the law favours men, she added: "It sets a bad example basically saying a rich man can protect his name. They can behave exactly how they want to behave, provided they have the money."

There are currently between 30 and 40 people who have used the privacy laws to block reports about alleged extra-marital affairs, sex with vice girls and cross-dressing.

CAPTION(S):

TARGET Jemima was hit by rumour ACCUSED Top Gear's Clarkson ANGRY Gabby had to deny affair AFFAIR Imogen was named CLAIMS Helen leaves Manchester BBC studio yesterday

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