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Tulisa’s manager slams Sun sting in letter to parliament

By | Published on Monday 22 July 2013


Tulisa Contostavlos’s manager Jonathan Shalit has written to John Whittingdale, the MP who chairs parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, to complain about the Sun On Sunday’s previously reported ‘scoop’ which saw the tabloid score a tiny amount of cocaine from a contact of the one-time N-Dubber and ‘X-Factor’ judge. The paper also recorded the singer discussing her various drug dealing friends.

In his letter, Shalit says the newspaper entrapped his client in order to get its story, and in doing so caused Contostavlos to be arrested and questioned by the police. The manager includes Tulisa’s police statement in his letter, which confirms rumours that undercover journalists from the tabloid tricked the singer into thinking she was being lined up for a film role.

According to The Guardian, that statement reads as follows:

“I was approached by what I now know to be three journalists from The Sun who pretended to be producing a film… We all met on a number of occasions over a few weeks. During these meetings alcohol was freely available. During this time the journalists also sent texts and spoke to me on the phone.

The journalists persuaded me that they wanted me to play the lead role in a major film for which I was to be paid a large amount of money. They described the lead character as being similar to me as portrayed in the media and in my book.

At that time I was trying to find a role in a film and so was keen to be offered the part. During our meetings the journalists asked me a number of intimate questions about my private life. I answered these, sometimes in an exaggerated manner, in an attempt to persuade them of my suitability for the part.

The impression given by reports in The Sun newspaper is unfair, and my words have often been taken out of context. I am not a drug dealer. I did not initiative the supply of drugs to The Sun journalists and had no intention of being concerned in their supply”.

In his letter to Whittingdale, Shalit alleges that “these journalists gave the impression that they were regular users of cocaine and sought to induce Tulisa to share cocaine with them” adding: “It is plain that the undercover journalists set out to entrap [Tulisa]. This was not an attempt to expose pre-existing criminality; rather there was an extensive, sustained and deliberate campaign to lute her into committing an offence”. He also claims that The Sun failed to provide all of its evidence relating to the sting to the police.

Noting the government’s recentish Leveson Inquiry on newspaper ethics, and the ongoing debate as to how the press should be regulated, Shalit concludes: “Following on from Leveson, it seems time to draw the line as to what are acceptable and unacceptable journalistic practices. There have of course been legitimate times when journalists have unearthed crimes that otherwise would not have been prosecuted, which I also applaud… However, this is very different to the entrapment of a 24 year old pop singer/TV judge on the basis of an ill-informed tip-off with no real proof [which] clearly crosses all boundaries of acceptability”.

Neither Whittingdale nor any rep for his select committee has as yet responded to the letter, though a spokesman for The Sun told The Guardian: “The Sun’s investigation into Tulisa Contostavlos is entirely justified in the public interest. We have handed our dossier of evidence to the police and there is a live investigation ongoing. We observed the PCC code throughout the investigation and only used subterfuge because there was no other means of securing proof”.