The Daily Mirror newspaper has issued an apology to a former UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate after running a front page story claiming that he was making a “Nazi salute” on camera.
Alex Wood, now 24, had his early twenties ruined by the Mirror splash which alleged that he was a neo-Nazi. The report came just before Britain’s local elections in 2013, when Nigel Farage’s party gained 132 seats across the country.
But now, over two years after printing the story, and over two years after the police cleared Mr Wood of the allegations against him, the Mirror has issued an apology:
“In print and online articles in April and May 2013 we said that Alex Wood, who was standing for UKIP in the May 2013 local elections in Somerset, had been photographed making a ‘Nazi salute’. We also said that he had made racist comments on Facebook.
We now accept that these allegations were wrong and there is no reason to believe that Mr Wood is a racist or a Nazi. The photograph, one of a series of photographs appearing on his Facebook page, was taken out of context. Mr Wood was reaching out to stop a friend taking a photo on a mobile phone. The comments on Facebook purportedly made by Mr Wood were not made by him and the police have confirmed that they were not made by Mr Wood.
We apologise to Mr Wood for the allegations made and any hurt and distress caused as a result. We hope this apology will go some way to repairing Mr Wood’s reputation.”
It isn’t the only time Mr Wood has been targeted by the media either. In April of this year the Independent reported that Mr Wood was being impersonated on Twitter, with the account in question posting a series of homophobic tweets in his name.
The issue was said to have attracted investigation from UKIP leader Nigel Farage himself, who concluded early on that Mr Wood had “been very unfairly treated”. Breitbart London has previously reported the pictures as “dubious”.