A regional daily became a top Twitter trend today after an MP questioned whether someone had insinuated his wife was a prostitute in a comment on the newspaper’s sister website.
‘Plymouth Herald’ became one of the top UK trends this morning after Johnny Mercer, Tory MP for Plymouth Moor View, quizzed a user of the social media site on whether he had made such an allegation.
Mr Mercer’s post referenced an abusive comment mentioning his wife, which was posted by a reader of the Herald’s Plymouth Live sister website two weeks ago.
The offending comment was swiftly deleted by Plymouth Live, but not before it came to the MP’s attention.
I’ll give you one chance at honesty. Did you insinuate my wife was a prostitute on the Plymouth Herald comments section?
— Johnny Mercer MP (@JohnnyMercerUK) October 16, 2018
In a Twitter post to a man named Stephen Knight, which was published on Tuesday, Mr Mercer wrote: “I’ll give you one chance at honesty. Did you insinuate my wife was a prostitute on the Plymouth Herald comments section?”
The tweet had followed an exchange between Mr Mercer and Mr Knight about the MP’s appearance on Channel 4 programme Celebrity Hunted.
Mr Knight’s posts in the exchange were subsequently deleted, leaving Mr Mercer’s tweet devoid of context and prompting other Twitter users who have since picked up on the post to make fun of it by repeating the quote with humourous pictures, videos and amendments.
There is no evidence linking Mr Knight to the original comment posted on Plymouth Live.
Plymouth Live itself has reported on the phenomenon, showcasing examples of how Twitter users had parodied Mr Mercer’s tweet:
Editor Edd Moore told HTFP: “We take moderation to comments on our website very seriously, whether about an MP or an ordinary member of the public, and we dealt with this one as swiftly as we possibly could.
“What this episode shows more than anything should be the power of social media for trolls to make the most of these situations, but also for people to have a bit of a chuckle. The fact we’ve been dragged into it is neither here nor there really.
“I’m very disappointed we’ve been referred to as the Plymouth Herald, rather than Plymouth Live after our rebrand, but I suppose you can’t please everyone.”
Twitter user Eddie Robson commented: “‘Plymouth Herald’ is now trending in the UK. You can’t buy this sort of publicity. Great to see an MP supporting local newspapers.”
"But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you ask me to insinuate his wife is a prostitute in the Plymouth Herald comments section" pic.twitter.com/l0tZ05ssVV
— Count Mysterioso (@MysteriosoX) October 19, 2018
The Plymouth Herald online team this morning. pic.twitter.com/OUyyOcbAji
— Paul Jenkins (@fourfoot) October 19, 2018
Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
Did you insinuate my wife was a prostitute,
On the Plymouth Herald comments section?
— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) October 19, 2018