Dan Wootton Still Unclear on Pseudonyms While Complaining about False Allegations

The latest issue of Private Eye magazine (1619, p. 10) updates readers about Dan Wootton, under the headline “Desperate Dan”. After noting the outcome of the recent police investigation, the piece notes:

An internal investigation at his former employer, the Sun, meanwhile, has yet to establish whether Wootton was – as several former colleagues and contacts are convinced – the mysterious figure who used pseudonyms to persuade them to share sexually explicit videos and images of themselves.

As Wootton [previously] made clear… he was prepared to ‘fess up to “errors of judgement in the past”, but insisted that “criminal allegations that have been made against me are simply untrue”.

As I noted last month, Wootton made legal threats against outlets and individuals who referenced the police investigation in October – the Guardian and the Mirror both removed articles about the matter, and he has now received out-of-court settlements from them (1). His complaint was one of privacy, although a misleading impression has been created that the papers have apologised for having aired the pseudonym allegations, rather than for reporting the existence of the investigation. (2)

Oddly, despite railing at some length against Byline Times, “leftist so-called journalists” and the testimony of his ex-partner, Wootton hasn’t found time to address the Private Eye article, nor why “former colleagues and contacts” at the Sun reportedly believe that he was behind the “Martin Branning” pseudonym. However, alongside “errors of judgement in the past”, Wootton has now also made cryptic reference to “the weaponisation of people’s perfectly legal private business”. There’s no plain statement of denial in his recent video uploads or Substack articles, and Megyn Kelly had the tact not to ask about it in a recent interview.

Alongside his new-found enthusiasm for privacy legislation (a difficult pose for a journalist who made his name in celebrity gossip), Wootton is also now presenting himself as a campaigner against false allegations, making hay from James O’Brien’s witless old support for the “VIP paedophile” hoaxer Carl Beech (3) and adding:

There is now a two-tiered justice system in the UK, where high profile and mostly right-wing personalities are a focus of police regardless of the lack of evidence or credibility from accusers driven by overwhelming malice. I mean Russell Brand, just another recent example.

Certainly, unproven accusations should not simply be accepted as fact or shielded from scrutiny, but it works both ways – and based on what we know so far about Brand’s complainants, the imputation of “malice” is unwarranted and even wild. Wootton is also offering implicit support for Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan, RTing a message of support from the latter.

It seems to me that Wootton’s statement tends towards knee-jerk scepticism and incredulity when right-wing influencers are accused of anything – a position no less pernicious than the uncritical “believe the victim” mantra.


1. The Guardian is said to have paid a “substantial” figure as a proportion of Wootton’s legal costs, while the Mirror reportedly paid “damages”. The difference, assuming it is accurate, may be because the latter paper ran with a lurid headline stating “Met Police launches probe into ‘Dan Wootton sex offences’ allegations”. This was unwise and invited readers to imagine a wide range of possible crimes. However, although browser results for the Press Gazette report brings up the phrase “tabloid makes apology and pays damages”, the word “damages” does not appear in the article itself.

2. Thus Kelvin MacKenzie, in a since-deleted Tweet (originally here): “More good news for the broadcaster Dan Wootton tonight. The Guardian has just apologised and paid legal costs to Dan for an untrue story they ran last October linking him to sexually explicit images.”

2. This was prior to Beech’s exposure, but those of us who were paying attention could see that there were reasons for caution as soon as Beech came on the scene as “Nick” in 2014.

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