As reported by HTFP today, Glasgow daily The Herald apologised to Rangers FC after its columnist Graham Spiers questioned whether the club was doing enough to tackle offensive chanting among its supporters.
Graham later published a blog post defending his views and claiming the newspaper had been subjected to “pressure” from the club.
Angela, left, posted on the social networking site after the publication of the apology on Wednesday: “Solidarity with Graham Spiers, again being targeted by the mob for telling some harsh truths.”
Today she tweeted: “I have been sacked from my Sunday Herald column after expressing solidarity with @GrahamSpiers.”
Graham’s column is also believed to have been discontinued although it is understood he did not file one this week in the wake of the row.
The award-winning sportswriter, who also writes for The Times and the BBC, said an un-named Rangers Football Club director had praised Loyalist anthem The Billy Boys, which is widely viewed as a sectarian chant, and claimed the club was not doing enough to tackle offensive behaviour among its supporters.
Herald editor Magnus Llewellin has said the paper had “no option” but to apologise as Graham’s assertions could not be defended in court, but the National Union of Journalists has criticised the paper’s actions.
Dominic Bascombe, assistant organiser NUJ Scotland, said: “The NUJ has already defended Angela over the bullying and harassment she has suffered for doing her job.
“The axing of her column sends a message that The Herald is unwilling to stand up for its contributors and is willing to sacrifice journalists when commercial interests are involved. This is totally unacceptable.”
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, added: “It is outrageous that commercial meddling has led the Herald to sack a respected columnist. This pandering to the mob does the freedom of journalism and the reputation of the Herald no favours. We call on the editor to reinstate these columnists at once.”
Magnus told HTFP: “A Graham Spiers column published on heraldscotland in December made a claim about an un-named member of the six-strong board of Rangers.
“This presented a legal issue which had to be addressed and which was discussed at length, by all parties involved.
“The issue was whether we could defend in court a contentious statement and the advice given was that we could not. Finally, on clear legal advice, we were left with no option other than to apologise and seek to draw a line under the matter.
“After the apology was published we had to abide by it and the spirit in which it was published. Unfortunately that apology was then undermined and we had to take appropriate action.
“Our titles have a long history of supporting quality journalism and defending free speech and robust comment. This made all the more difficult the action we had to take.
“While one of our advertisers is on the board at Rangers that was never an issue and we shall continue to report and comment on the pressing issues of the day without fear or favour.”
Angela, who is of Irish descent, has previously claimed to be the victim of “anti-Irish racism” after Rangers supporters abused her for her role in editing a book charting the club’s recent financial troubles.
Graham, himself a boyhood Rangers supporter, stood by his column, claiming it was based on a “truthful account of my meeting with a Rangers director” in August.
A spokesman for Rangers FC told HTFP: “There was no legal complaint or legal action made against The Herald on behalf of Rangers. Rangers simply asked if The Herald and its writers could prove the allegations.
“The outcome was an apology and the club is entirely satisfied with that.”