Andy Sykes, of Blackpool daily The Gazette, appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live after The Sun claimed “local louts” had been responsible for the supposed attack on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Marquez, left.
The Sun reported on Sunday that Mr Marquez had two teeth smashed when he walked through the town with friends in the early hours of Sunday morning after filming an episode at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
However, subsequent enquiries by The Gazette revealed no complaint had been made to Lancashire Police, although the force has since contacted the BBC over the allegations.
Andy told 5 Live on Monday afternoon that the incident had “tarnished what was an extremely positive weekend for the resort”.
He said: “I think we need to bust a myth here, there’s actually no difference between Blackpool and any other major town or city in the North-West, or the country for that matter.”
Andy continued: “I go out in Blackpool, it’s not that dangerous. I’ve never felt under threat, and [our readers] have responded to this a lot today.
“A lot of them have said this is tarnishing Blackpool unfairly and there’s a lot of unfair negativity towards the resort, people saying ‘typical Blackpool’, but it really isn’t the case at all. It’s no more dangerous than any other town you will go out in on a Saturday night.”
Mr Marquez has since tweeted a message thanking his fans for their support, but did not go into detail about what happened.
Andy told HTFP: “Almost a week on from the alleged incident, the picture remains very confused as Mr Marquez has not made a complaint to the police and there is no CCTV evidence that has come to light, so no-one really knows what exactly has happened.
“However, it has attracted significant media interest and has sadly painted Blackpool in a bad light when it should be celebrating a job well done with some brilliant coverage of Strictly Come Dancing.
“A lot of our website users and Facebook posters have been unequivocal all week – defending the town from the naysayers and, correctly, arguing this could have happened in any town centre in the country.
“It just happens to be high profile because who the alleged victim was. Mr Marquez has thanked people for their support following, in his words, his ‘experience’ but we still don’t really know what that experience was.The Sun says he was attacked by ‘local louts’ but until arrests are made then there is no way that can be verified.
“Blackpool has a reputation – sometimes a fair one, but more often, grossly unfair – and it’s only right the town is defended, especially when the incident remains so frustratingly vague. We are repeatedly asking Lancashire Police for an update and the BBC but have heard little so far.”