Blogger frog-marched out of Tower Hamlets Council meeting in ‘p***k’ row
PUBLISHED: 12:49 12 June 2014
A reporter was frog-marched out of a Tower Hamlets Council meeting last night after telling a senior council officer he was “acting like a p***k”.
Trial by Jeory blogger Ted Jeory was evicted from the Town Hall after the spat with head of communications Takki Sulaiman over the lack of seats available for the press.
Mr Jeory, a former deputy editor of the Advertiser, called the move an “abuse of power” and a “PR disaster” for the council.
He said: “When I arrived I saw there were no seats and asked where I could sit. I was told the press seats had been given up to members of the public.
“I was given a seat right at the back behind a pillar, where I could only see three councillors.
“I asked, ‘How can a reporter report on proceedings if they can’t see anything?’ It meant nothing to them.”
Mr Jeory, who regularly Tweets during council meetings to his thousands of readers, said he was approached by Mr Sulaiman who took exception to one of his Tweets, prompting an argument.
“As he walked away, I quietly said, ‘You’re acting like a p***k’. He said, ‘Do you want me to remove you from the chamber?’ I said, ‘You can do what you want Takki, I’m trying to report’. Then two Tower Hamlets enforcement officers frog-marched me out.”
Mr Jeory said he regrets using the term of abuse but said he could have used much worse, and accused Mr Sulaiman of abusing his power over a private spat.
At the meeting, Mr Sulaiman at first declined to say what had happened, telling the Advertiser: “I’m not answering your question. It’s nothing to do with you. Why don’t you find some real news.”
But after the meeting, while entering a lift, he said: “He called me a p***k. And he admitted that he did. Read his message [on Twitter].”
He later told another newspaper he has a right not to be abused in his workplace.
A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said: “The council AGM is a formal occasion and reasonable behaviour is expected of all attendees.
“As is normal practice a number of local journalists including Mr Jeory were group-emailed asking if they wanted a seat reserved. No response was received from Mr Jeory.
“Two rows were reserved but when they went unfilled the seats were released to the public.”
He added: “When Mr Jeory arrived he was upset he did not have a reserved seat and complained that one of the council’s communications team had a seat.
“A council officer pointed out that the staff member has a disability which is why she was given a seat, and that was when he called the council officer a p***k.”
Mr Jeory says he did not get the email but has a ticket which was left for him at reception.