26 Sep 2012

Kelvin MacKenzie demands Hillsborough apology from police

When I met Kelvin MacKenzie at his large home in Surrey, he was hard at work on the article in which he will disclose he’s instructed his lawyers to demand an apology from South Yorkshire Police.

His lawyers will claim Mr MacKenzie has suffered “personal vilification for decades” as a result of what they say are the mistakes of South Yorkshire Police. He will claim that police patrols around his home have had to be stepped up and speaks of the physical danger he faces in the city of Liverpool.

When Channel 4 News called at his home recently we saw no sign of any police patrols at his home.
Mr MacKenzie accepts that publishing the headline “The Truth” shortly after the disaster, and blaming Liverpool fans wrongly for causing it, was both wrong and a mistake but he claims:
“The people who have got away scot-free are South Yorkshire Police.”
In an article in this week’s Spectator magazine he goes on: “Now I know — you know, we all know — that the fans were right. But it took 23 years, two inquiries, one inquest and research into  400,000 documents, many of which were kept secret under the 30-year no-publication rule, to discover there was a vast cover-up by South Yorkshire Police about the disaster. Where does that leave me?”

Mr MacKenzie will claim the article that many other newspapers ran the same “copper-bottomed” story, and suggests motives for the Sun being singled out by a city:

“Liverpool fans didn’t turn on other media, only the Sun. That has always puzzled me. Was it picked out because the paper had always backed Thatcher, while the city had always been pro-Labour?”

But what is not clear is whether or not Mr MacKenzie can explain why he over-ruled his own staff to write that notorious headline and ignored the advice of the the very senior reporter who wrote the story in much more measured terms.

It is this which marks out the Sun’s coverage from that in other newspapers in the days after Hillsborough, and that headline has ensured that The Sun is boycotted by thousands across Merseyside to this day. Kelvin MacKenzie – and Kelvin MacKenzie alone – wrote that headline and did so against the express advice of reporters deeply involved in the story.

When I called on Mr MacKenzie last week he first appeared at his front door  in shorts and tee-shirt,  said he was writing his article at that time;  he was seated at a computer in a back room as I approached, visible through a small window in the door.

When Channel 4 news asked for an interview Mr MacKenzie told me to “f*** off and declined two subsequent on-camera invitations to explain why he did what he did, against the advice of his own journalists.


A robust response from South Yorkshire Police, which has told Channel 4 News: “it is well known that many media outlets ran similar stories at the time based on the same sources, but chose to treat them differently. Mr MacKenzie was responsible for the particular headline he chose to run with.”

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31 reader comments

  1. john edwards says:

    Well said Alex.

  2. AndyB says:

    Not only is he seeking an apology from South Yorkshire Police he is also ‘seeking recompense’. So he wants some cash to make up for his ‘hurt’.

    So not content with running a campaign against Liverpool fans for years he now seeks to make money from the death of 96 of them. When Trevor Hicks described this person as “low-life, a clever low life but low-life” he stated it quite correctly.

    I seek no money for the pain of watching all those people die that day, I seek nothing from Kelvin MacKenzie but his silence on matters that he neither knows nor really cares about.

    Or do we have to offer money to Mr MacKenzie for a period of quiet? Is cash the only thing that this ‘man’ values?

  3. Steve says:

    He’s clever but not clever enough. Surely this distasteful attempt to make money from a tragedy will ensure that it’s not just Liverpool where his life will be in danger.

  4. Jan says:

    It’s not all about you, Alex.

    1. BGC says:

      No Jan, it’s not all about him, but given that Alex was the only person in the media who thought it worthwhile approaching MacKenzie for comment in the wake of the Hillsborough report, he is able to speak from first hand experience. Is your surname Moir by any chance?

      1. Erik Pan says:
    2. Erik Pan says:

      I don’t see where he suggests that.

  5. dok says:

    In Kelvin’s mind the problems in life have been managed by blaming other people, blamed liverpool fans, blame the police and in his sun days it was blame europe, immigrants etc…

    Kelvin has no insight into the fact that his own behaviour has been as much part of the problems of society. He is to be pitied. He is now an empty vessel making noises which we should ignore.

  6. t-bone says:

    Jan, you’ve wildly missed the point

  7. Philip Edwards says:


    As usual, Mackenzie is wrong, or is lying. The Merseyside boycott of lying newspapers extended to all those guilty, mostly from the Murdoch stable. The Sun and Mackenzie were concentrated on because they were the worst offenders. Mackenzie knows this very well.

    Moreover the evidence has been available for years. The Independent Review Panel collated it and made it more coherent. Mackenzie simply refused to look at it for twenty three years, probably because he preferred the comfort of his own prejudices – par for the course for The Sun and its type of mentality.

    Last year, he was on Andrew Neill’s (oh the irony!) politics show on BBC TV and was challenged on the subject by Chris Bryant MP. Like the thug he is he leaned threateningly into Bryant and claimed “a LIVERPOOL agency” originally “misled” him…..when all along it was a SHEFFIELD agency.

    Mackenzie isn’t lowlife. He’s worse. And a coward into the bargain.

  8. k mck is an evil man says:

    Are the public so uneducated/inhuman/retarded that they cant spot a rat as big and smelly as Kelvin MacKenzie?

    The man is a vile excuse for a human being I would love to wipe that grin off his face. Too bad he has friends in such high places that he is allowed to manipulate every scenario to his favour. He wants money from this, thats all.


  9. Michael says:

    Keep up the good work Alex. This pathetic excuse for a human being needs to be brought to book for his crimes back in ’89. And I do I sincerely believe that deliberate misreporting should be made a crime. Maybe that will go a long way to reining in the irresponsible actions of every Sun reporter and it’s foreign owner… The man without a conscience!

  10. keddaw says:

    Surely the point of ‘journalism’ is to not simply take the word of officialdom but to challenge it and seek out the truth? There were hundreds of eye witnesses disputing the official story and MacKenzie decided to run with the police’s take on it.

    When journalists take the word of officials they cease to be journalists and become public relations for the status quo. They sure as hell aren’t performing a service for the public.

  11. lh says:

    If he ever does get an apology, it would be nice if it was a single small paragraph in a very small font on page 12.

  12. Frank McGaaaarvey says:

    Is there really any end to this man’s sheer and utter brass-necked sliminess?

    There was one man, and one man only, who had the power and authority to run with the story on the day it was published. The same man who also could have listened to the concerns of his own staff and vetoed, or at the very least heavily amended, the story from running in it’s original format. Yes, that is you Mr Mackenzie. I know you have issued an apology 23 years later and may accept some responsibility for your actions but to go down the road you are going down now is again beyond reprehension. The families and friends of the Hillsborough 96 are the ones who are owed an apology (and more) by the Yorkshire police and successive governments, NOT you Mr Mackenzie.

    Not only is this man completely shameless and so detached from reality, his sense of timing could not be worse. I am still utterly astounded at these actions just as we were contemplating real justice for the 96 after all these years.

    I can’t describe how I feel about this poor excuse of a human being. If someone could find the words to signify something lower than a snakes guts that wouldn’t even get close.


  13. Bob says:

    He cannot accept responsibility for his own actions. At least his original ‘apology’ and this latest attempt to exonerate himself are just showing how despicable he really is.
    (Thank you for the door-step Alex, great idea.)

  14. deiseach says:

    To all those people who felt some sympathy for Kelvin over the manner of his doorstepping by Alex – how’s that working for you now?

  15. Gary Connaughton says:

    This turd is a total and utter waste of oxygen.

  16. Roger Thomas says:

    They picked the pockets of the dead.

    I remember that statement back in 89.I was at Hillsborough and have lived in Liverpool, actions such as the headline re-inforced the stereotypical views people have off Liverpool for 23 years. No I am not a sorry scouser but an average Joe, job, home etc and have listened to opposing fans singing “You killed your own fans, feed the scousers etc ever since and KM played a major part in painting a City in a very bad light.

    Kelvin now wants to be compensated for his actions concerning 96 souls. Thank you Alex for the doorstep, showed Kelvin up for what he is. About 120 secs in when he his sat in his Merc, a look of terror was on his face. First time I have ever seen him look uncomfortable. Reality is he probably will get compensated and will return to our screens, tis a sad, sad world.

  17. Dave says:

    Sorry but he had the CHOICE to print that headline – he deserves all he gets and more. Too right he wouldn’t be welcomed in Liverpool (or anywhere else with decent people for that matter). Surely the right thing to do now is just SHUT UP and try to live with his battered conscience. If he makes any money from this then that would be a national disgrace.

  18. Dave says:

    p.s. Mr Mackenzie, you are NOT welcome in North Wales either

  19. Meg Howarth says:

    Compare and contrast: the decent articulate Trevor Hicks v. the ludicrous, conniving, self-regarding Kelvin MacKenzie. MacKenzie knows his broadcast-media days are over – trust you’re reading and learning, BBC – and his reputation finally trashed, hence his beyond-risible grasping for an apology. You wrote your own headline, Kevin. If you can’t live with it, that’s your problem.

  20. p o sullivan says:

    maybe if mackenzie and his crooked pals at news corp,had not been paying the police (illegally) for stories, then he would not be in the hole he keeps trying to dig out of. when did it ever matter to the SUN if the story was true or not . he is responsible for what stories went in that rag, he was the editor, the cozy relationship between news corp and the police was self serving to a point were the truth did not matter as long as papers were selling, and the police were lining their pockets with the bungs, BOTH OF THEM DESERVE EVERYTHING THATS COMING THEIR WAY

  21. teemeek says:

    So poor wee MacKenzie has suffered “decades” of personal vilification for his crass stupidity…. Good…… .What about all the innocents who have suffered because this apology for an editor (who basically only had to judge the attractiveness of his page 3 girl’s bust to do his job)) got it so spectacularly wrong? This arrogant self promoting idiot even blamed the demise of his rag on a woman (Margaret Thatcher)…..a classic cowardly action.This man? will never be capable of recognising what a fool he is and the sooner we all just ignore him the better for our society.

  22. Paul Turner says:

    Poor Kelvin – vilified by the media and all that. He’s slagged off the people of Liverpool for years and he doesn’t even have to guts to either face the families of the accused or accept responsibility for his actions. At least when Boris was in the wrong he went to Liverpool to face the music. The term “Gutter Press” never had a more fitting tag. Someone should create a badge with those words and stick it on the bonnet of his car.

  23. Jonathan says:

    A true example of what was wrong with Thatcherism and its successor the coaliton blaming victims of their policies – Hillsborough was well known in the football community as a poor ground unsuitable for big games. South Yorkshire were known as ‘Maggie’s boot boys’ for their vicous assaults on striking miners.
    Kelvin Mc Kenzie was known as Maggie’s favourite editor, he did her dirty work covering up for incompetence and lies by South Yorkshire’s unfiniest.
    He knew what he was publishing, he must have known the blowback he would get and so instead of apologising he carried on for over 20 years carrying on with the lies.
    Let him try and sue South Yorkshire Police and lets see how much he loses.

  24. gattino says:

    Kelvin Mackenzie demanding an apology from the police is rather like Himmler trying to sue the gas board for giving him an idea.

  25. shameonyou says:

    Words fail me, poor him. “Time to take Responsibility Kelvin”
    Karma’s a Bitch.

  26. Richard says:

    McKenzie has learned nothing from the downfall of his colleagues. He prostituted whatever journalistic ideals he once had to his own vast, odious and now deluded ego. Seems to be a pattern with red top editors.

    He is so out of touch these days he is like the Emperor who bought those new clothes.

    He would be well advised to stop digging his own hole and waiting for whatever formal follow up.

    This smacks of pre emptive strike fron McKenzie. You have called his hand Alex. Nice one!

  27. Declan says:

    I found this definition of a sociopath on the internet. Does it remind you of anyone?

    Antisocial Personality Disorder…Individuals with this disorder have little regard for the feeling and welfare of others…Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general symptoms:

    not learning from experience
    no sense of responsibility

    inability to control impulses
    lack of moral sense
    chronically antisocial behaviour
    no change in behaviour after punishment
    emotional immaturity
    lack of guilt

  28. Jamie says:

    Disgusting individual. I hope he disappears.

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