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Sunday newspaper defends sex sting story after 200 complain to IPSO

A Sunday newspaper has defended its decision to publish a front page story about a politician’s sex life despite 200 complaints being made to the press watchdog.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has received the complaints after the Belfast-based Sunday Life published a splash about Ross Hussey, a Member of the Legislative Assembly at Stormont.

Sunday Life reported Mr Hussey had apologised after sending naked photographs of himself to an undercover reporter, and that he had been using websites to meet “strangers” for sex.

The Ulster Unionist, who is single, admitted using the websites and said he “did not think of the consequences”.

Sunday Life MLA

The story was published on the front page of Sunday’s edition, pictured above.

However, IPSO confirmed to the Belfast News Letter it has since received 200 complaints on the matter, mostly under clauses two and three of the Editors’ Code of Practice, which relate to privacy and harassment.

The News Letter further reported that Sunday Life readers had taken to the newspaper’s own Facebook page to urge people to complain to IPSO.

A similar story appeared in the Dublin-based Sunday World paper, which is not signed up to IPSO.

In a statement  Sunday Life said: “We believe our story was clearly in the public interest as it highlighted a security risk.”

In the article, the paper argued that because Mr Hussey was meeting “strangers” online and then arranging to meet them in person that he was endangering himself.


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  • July 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Disgraceful story, a single man going about his business doing something that’s totally legal.

    “In the article, the paper argued that because Mr Hussey was meeting “strangers” online and then arranging to meet them in person that he was endangering himself.”

    What kind of horrifc nonsense is this? They can’t even be bothered to put out something that sounds even half reasonable, ‘protecting him from himself’.

    Careers and lives are ruined in this way and for what. Anyone involved in this garbage is not deserving of being described as a journalist.

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  • July 29, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Crikey. I’m all for the old-school practice of outing politicians’ dodgy dealings when it matters, but this seems unnecessarily prurient and intrusive. The guy has a right to sleep about if he’s not involved or interested in a committed relationship, and if others are willing to tango that’s nobody else’s business. Unless there’s the suggestion that he’s leaking secrets to get his end away – and in this case there’s no sign of that – I don’t buy the “security risk” excuse either.

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