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Stokes plays cricket for the England national team. Simon Cooper/PA Images
uk media

'Don't Buy The Sun' trends after English cricketer Ben Stokes hits out at 'lowest form of journalism'

The paper ran a story about a family tragedy that happened before Stokes was born.

ENGLISH CRICKETER BEN Stokes has accused The Sun newspaper of engaging in “the lowest form of journalism” after it published details of a family tragedy that occurred before his birth.

The UK tabloid ran a story on its front page that provided details of the violent deaths of his half-brother and half-sister in New Zealand 31 years ago.

Stokes was born in New Zealand but moved to England as a child and has propelled himself this summer to be perhaps the country’s most-famous cricketer with a number of spectacular performances.

On its front page today, The Sun referred to the cricketer as “Hero Ben” and said that the tragedy “haunts Stokes’ family”.

In a lengthy statement today, Stokes responded by saying that The Sun: “has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details concerning events in the private lives of my family, going back more than 31 years.”

It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism. I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.

Stokes went on to say that it is “utterly disgusting” to “shatter the privacy and private lives” of his parents.

“The decision to publish these details has grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular,” he wrote on Twitter.

“This is the lowest form of journalism, focussed only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence. It is totally out of order.”

Stokes added that the story “contains serious inaccuracies which has compounded the damage caused”.

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Following Stokes’ criticism of it The Sun, #dontbuythesun has been the top trending item online in the UK today, with the top three trends on Twitter all related to the story.

‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ is the slogan to a long-standing campaign to boycott the paper over its coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Despite the reaction, The Sun has defended the story and said it is “a matter of public record”.

“The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the cooperation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures,” a spokesperson told The Guardian.

“The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story.”

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