Update 2/10/22 The Daily Mail are now considering this retraction: “The Readers’ Editor, who is a qualified lawyer and not a member of any of our publications’ editorial staff, will come to an independent decision on how to take your complaint forward.”
RE: STATEMENT FOR RETRACTION, REWRITE AND RECOMPENSE IN RELATION TO DAILY MAIL ARTICLE ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL GROUP
Dear Mr Verity,
We are writing to you in relation to your (hard evidence-based and totally provable) libellous article published on 19th April 2022 entitled; “EXPOSED: The trendy life coach group accused of fleecing and threatening its trusting middle class devotees, as victims sucked into a sinister ‘personal growth’ programme issue a chilling warning.”
The true context to this article is that the Daily Mail’s sources have led a malicious smear campaign as an act of constructive sabotage lasting more than 18 months. The Daily Mail has been knowingly or unknowingly complicit in this hate-fuelled campaign; effectively endorsing and encouraging the hate speech, racism, religious persecution and accusations of paedophilia contained within it. Publishing this article has caused great distress to the children of those parents featured in an article that is based on malicious falsehoods, manipulation and blatant lies. As a result, this letter will address the following points:
1. How we can categorically show this article was written with great bias and prejudice and under the false pretence of serving the public interest.
2. The categoric failure of investigative journalism that has led to numerous damaging inaccuracies and levels of misleading information which is a breach of the IPSO Editors’ Code of Practice you are bound to.
3. Your responsibility to seek the truth via obtaining the full evidence from ourselves, in balance to that of your sources, which refutes their claims.
4. The highly suspected nepotism within the Daily Mail itself that has allowed such a grossly biased and defamatory article to have been written, that is neither in the public interest, nor in the interest of the public.
5. The great damage caused to the reputations and livelihoods of myself (Paul Waugh) and Lighthouse International Group and how that must be compensated for by the Daily Mail.
False Pretences & Fundamental Inaccuracies
This article has been written under the false pretence of being in the public interest and violates numerous clauses of the Editors’ Code of Practice agreed by IPSO, most notably clause 1, concerning accuracy and privacy. The article is not only inaccurate in terms of details of events, but it is fundamentally inaccurate in terms of the context and background. As a result, it has been written and published in such a way that is blatantly biased, prejudiced and deliberately designed, on the basis of so-called public interest, to damage the reputation of myself (Paul Waugh) and Lighthouse International Group. As introduced above, the Daily Mail has been used as a platform to try and give credibility to a malicious and unfounded smear campaign intended to constructively sabotage Lighthouse International Group since February 2021.
A Categoric Failure To Fully Investigate The Facts
There has been a complete failure by the Daily Mail to investigate the situations and circumstances concerning this article properly, even though these were (provably) highlighted to Tom Kelly prior to publication. The Daily Mail has taken the word of its sources as truth and not genuinely questioned the validity of the claims made. As a result, this has led to significant inaccuracies and examples of deliberate misinformation with the intention to publicly present myself and Lighthouse International Group falsely and in the worst possible light. This is despite the fact that a substantial amount of information from us and written testimonies to the contrary were supplied to Tom Kelly months prior to publication, as part of our 17,000-word response to him.
The Endorsement Of Hate-Fuelled Acts of Constructive Sabotage
One of the biggest things overlooked by the Daily Mail is the magnitude of the hatred this article is not only supporting, but fuelling and legitimising! Through backing its sources, the Daily Mail has knowingly given a platform to individuals who have instigated and led a baseless online assault against myself and Lighthouse International Group that continues to be investigated by the police. This “Troll Assault & False Accusation Register” we compiled presents a tiny selection of the most hateful comments these sources have directly or indirectly published online about us. The below example comments show the inhumane nature of the campaign led by the Daily Mail’s sources.
“You and your puppets are no different to a rapist paedophile groomer… WE ARE ON YOUR ASSES M’FUCKERS, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN PAULIE BOY, RUN BACK TO SA BRUUUUUU”
“The predominant South African strain of the Lighthouse 20 Virus has mutated into an Indian Variant. This Delta variant orginated with the Singh brothers and has been rapidly spreading through the UK. The Indian Variant aggressively targets the victims bank account and property and can be fatal if not treated promptly. The Indian Variant spreads by convincing the victim that Doomsday is coming, so act now and hand over their money.”
“Latest And The Outright Bizarre. Paul Waugh Claims Jesus Justifies Everything And Has Mentored, Coached and Counselled Him Personally. Jesus would certainly disagree…
This is getting really weird now because it’s bad enough lieing to people about what you’re doing to run this group as a cult leader but now he’s literally shifting the blame to Jesus Christ as a way to avoid accountability.”
These comments have been led, encouraged and cheered on by at least two of the Daily Mail’s sources (named in the paper), who are known to manage and moderate the anti-Lighthouse Sub-Reddit forum that the above comments are extracted from. The Daily Mail was informed of the smear campaign and constructive sabotage taking place, but chose to ignore this. As a result, the children of our Lighthouse partners have feared even more for their safety, suffering anxiety and lost sleep because of this online assault and the perceived credibility they know that a printed article in the national press would give to these people. The police are taking this very seriously through their investigations and our lawyers have been astounded by our levels of self-restraint in our response to these assaults on the race, religious beliefs and character of those at Lighthouse. Behind these attacks are (which can be proven to be) toxic family members of those involved at Lighthouse International Group. It’s these family members who are seeking to cover up their abuse by trying to destroy Lighthouse’s reputation. In listening to and publishing their delusory and deceptive claims, the Daily Mail has by extension supported their intention and is aiding in their aims to cover up their abuse.
Supporting Religious Hate & Persecution
Not only is the reason for the assault on Lighthouse International Group due to undue refunds, but much deeper than this is the attack on the religious beliefs of some of the partners involved at Lighthouse. The timing of the departure of the Daily Mail’s sources came at a time when various partners at Lighthouse had started to openly express their new Christian faith and commit their life to Christ. We have more than 60 pages of documented evidence of how these very sources and their co-conspirators have mocked, judged and attacked the religious beliefs of myself and other Lighthouse Associate Partners. Sadly the Daily Mail also felt entitled to openly share my religious beliefs in a mocking way as quoted below:
“He also regularly discusses the teachings of Christ — though Mr Waugh told the Mail he often stresses to members that they should not ‘idolise’ him or paint him as a modern-day ‘fat, bald Jesus’.”
Biased & Prejudiced Abuse Of Public Interest?
The Daily Mail has published the details of private text messages and phone calls of current Lighthouse partners within this article. But were such an article truly committed to the public interest then you, the Daily Mail, must immediately obtain the express and signed permission from all your sources, for Lighthouse to release all of the substantial evidence we hold from what they have written and said on recordings, which absolutely refutes and disproves every accusation presented.
Due to data protection we are not including the specific recordings or messages we have from your sources. However, in the attached and detailed Retraction, Re-write & Recompense Statement in relation to this article, we have given a very good indication as to the essence of these. This is so that you, the Daily Mail, may know what is available to you upon request, should you be genuinely committed to the public interest in line with the truth. Failure to seek your sources’ permission on this will only be an admission on your part that the Daily Mail has no legitimate desire to serve the public interest, leaving you fully accountable to the Editors’ Code of Practice under IPSO rules for the deliberate abuse of such reasoning.
If indeed myself and Lighthouse International Group are the kinds of people your sources claim them to be, then releasing ALL relevant information in relation to this is surely of primary interest to the public, given we are willing to share it and we have it in its totality. Should you seek their permission and your sources refuse this, as we expect them to (as they have with other members of the press, with the Mirror being one of them) the only reason would be that they know their claims are false and in such a case you cannot then claim to have valid and trustworthy sources. If what they have said is true then the release of such information ought only to support their claims. However we know, and they know, this release of information will completely contradict and disprove it and would be comprehensively damning, which is why they have refused this permission thus far. Imagine our frustration and trauma reading this article knowing that we have the absolute truth and that we cannot release it given data protection. This includes before, during and after our 17,000-word response to Mr Kelly. That said, we have given you a very good example of the essence of what we hold and will release it to you with your sources’ permission.
Significant Inaccuracies & Misleading Information
Below are some of the key inaccuracies and misleading points of the article itself, of which there are many more which are detailed in the attached retraction statement.
1. The private recording of myself has been maliciously edited, misrepresented and manipulated to falsely defame me, whilst giving me no opportunity to comment on this prior to publication.
2. It was not reported by the Daily Mail that ongoing attempts at resolution have been totally ignored by these sources showing their hostility, malevolent motives and lack of a reasonable and rational desire to find a resolution.
3. It was not reported by the Mail that Lighthouse International Group has continually encouraged these sources to stand by their accusations and take legal action against us, but that no action has or is being taken. The main reason for this lack of legal action being they know that we are able to bring all of the refuting evidence we have against their falsehoods, which is substantial.
4. It was not reported by the Daily Mail that a compassionate refund was indeed offered to, but stubbornly and damningly ignored by one of the main sources, Mr Thomas and we have total evidence of this fact.
5. The connection between two of the sources; Mr Thomas and Ms Holmes, has been deliberately hidden from public knowledge because this undermines the story presented about manipulation and coercion by Lighthouse International Group.
6. Crucial testimonials that significantly outnumbered and counter the false accusations of these sources have been wholly and deliberately suppressed, even though they were shared with the Daily Mail as part of our 17,000-word response.
Highly Suspected Nepotism & Corruption
A personal connection between a very senior member of the Mail’s staff and a sibling of one of our Associate Partners has come to light. If confirmed, as we expect it to be, this will reveal a potential conspiracy of corruption and wilful collusion in a malicious act of baseless defamation committed here by the Daily Mail. Given the seriousness of this, it is something we are exploring in line with the public interest with other publications.
Substantial Refuting & Disproving Evidence Provided
The above omissions and errancies (and many more) are explained in great depth and detail as an appendix to this letter (attached as a copy of our formal complaint about your breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice under IPSO rules).
We will add that we have published extensive commentary online about the Daily Mail’s coverage of us and not once have we been asked by the Daily Mail to back up our statements in relation to the truth of the situation. This in itself is an acknowledgement that the evidence we have will completely destroy the credibility of the Daily Mail’s sources. Once again we stress, it is only because of data protection and a continued willingness to find a resolution with the individuals concerned that we have not published this evidence.
Required Reparations & Compensation
We cannot allow falsehoods to remain published online about us because anyone reading it who doesn’t know better will assume it’s true. Therefore we demand in writing that you remove the article published on 19th April 2022, the associated video featuring myself and the follow-up article; “Shame of the life coach who named child abuse victim” published on 8th May 2022 from the Daily Mail Online site. We need you to investigate further; to fix this situation and make it right, otherwise we will have to pursue this matter through the courts.
It has taken us many months to fully investigate the outrageous claims made in the Daily Mail and to bring together the evidence against your fallacious sources, which you will find attached. This has significantly stretched our time and human and financial resources to complete, whilst dealing with the immense damage caused by your article being online for the last 5 months.
The Daily Mail must fully compensate myself and Lighthouse International Group for this, starting with (as stated above) the retraction of all existing articles and posts relating to myself and Lighthouse International Group from your website, immediately and permanently. We have no objection and indeed encourage a fresh article being written as long as it’s fully investigated, written without bias and given its full and true context, along with an unhindered opportunity to comment on all its planned content.
Therefore to reiterate summarise and make it clear, Lighthouse International Group now requires the Daily Mail to:
1. Gain permission for all relevant evidence to be publicly disclosed by Lighthouse International Group in fair defence of these claims by their sources so that we may provide them for publication.
2. Fully and properly investigate the motivations and circumstances behind each source’s accusations, in line with their provable involvement in what Lighthouse’s solicitors identified as a deliberate smear campaign of character and wellbeing assassination attempts.
3. Retract the following articles and video immediately from the Daily Mail Online website:
- EXPOSED: The trendy life coach group accused of fleecing and threatening its trusting middle class devotees, as victims sucked into a sinister ‘personal growth’ programme issue a chilling warning. (Published 19th April 2022)
- Video: Leader of ‘life coaching’ group recorded verbally abusing ex-client. (Published 19th April 2022)
- Shame of the life coach who named child abuse victim: Awareness group boss is branded ‘disgraceful’ for detailing past of woman who accused him of bullying. (Published 8th May 2022)
4. Publish a public apology from Mr Tom Kelly, Mr Adam Luck, Mr Ted Verity and Mr Paul Dacre for publishing fabricated and unsubstantiated claims and the unprofessionally biased and prejudiced reporting they are responsible for, especially in view of the counter-arguments and evidence Lighthouse delivered to Mr Kelly in the preparation of this article.
5. Re-write, if necessary, the article based on a fair and balanced assessment and description of the accusations and situations surrounding them and their sources from both perspectives.
6. Provide financial compensation to Lighthouse International Group and its partners for the significant damage caused to our personal reputation, our business, our families and our children which we are receiving ongoing legal advice for.
We require a response within the next 48 hours to acknowledge receipt of this letter and our Retraction, Re-write and Recompense Statement. We are in the process of communicating with IPSO in regards to the breaches of the Editors’ Code of Practice to which you are bound and look for a full and imminent resolution of this situation.