Disclaimer:

PinkNews.co.uk has no evidence to suggest the identity of the footballers described in the News of the World’s expose. This article explores the media hysteria relating to these allegations and the impact that the internet has had in rumour spreading.

The internet has today been rife with rumours surrounding the identity of two leading Premiership footballers, filmed in a gay orgy and viewed by a reporter at the News of the World.

The tabloid newspaper said that the footballers, who can not be named for legal reasons, were caught on camera in an orgy with well a known music industry figure. The newspaper claimed that one player engaged in sexual acts using a mobile phone as a sex toy.

Today, hundreds of internet bloggers have made allegations surrounding the identity of the footballers. PinkNews.co.uk has been unable to verify if the allegations listed are true but can re-produce the following photographs being posted across the web in internet based gossip groups.

“Music Figure A” and “Player A” (Source: News of the World)

MasterStepz and Ashley Cole (Source: Choice FM)

PinkNews.co.uk points out that the watch clearly visible on Ashley Cole on the official Choice FM photograph is missing on the photograph of “player A” published in the News of the World, and his fingers are in a different position.

However, an expert in computer based photo editing (who did not want to be named), told PinkNews.co.uk: “the News of the World’s photograph appears to have been crudely edited in Photoshop. There is a lighter area of skin on Player A’s arm, where the watch may have been edited out.

“In addition, there is a noticeable mark on Player A’s chin, in the same position as the index finger on the chin of Ashley Cole in the photograph posted on the Choice FM website.

“A closer examination of the shadows and creases on the shirts also indicates that the News of the World photograph is an edited version of the Choice FM photograph.”

Both photographs superimposed on each other

Regardless of the true identity of the footballers, the gay activist Peter Tatchell, of human rights group Outrage! said today: “As there is no evidence that they are being hypocritical or homophobic there is no public interest in outing them.

“My advice to the player’s agents is that it is probable they will be exposed and it would be better for it to come out in a sympathetic newspaper. That would allow the players to dictate the terms.

“Considering the recent MORI poll that 15 per cent of the population have had same sex experiences, it seems likely that 50 or more premiership players are gay or bisexual.

The best strategy would be a joint declaration in a friendly or gay publication that would take the heat off any individual and gibe them strength in numbers.”

Since this article was written, England and Arsenal star Ashley Cole has started legal action against the News of the World and the Sun for harassment, libel and breach of privacy, although he was not directly named in any of the stories.

The 25 year old’s lawyers complained that the photograph and accompanying text in the articles suggested he was one of the players involved in the News of the World story. They said their client denied involvement in a sexual relationship with another Premiership footballer or with any other man.

PinkNews.co.uk Comment

PinkNews.co.uk welcomes any statements that the individuals concerned wish to make.

We also wish to remind our readers, that the intention of this article is to expose the rumours spreading across the internet and provide a discussion of the photograph that appeared in yesterday’s News of the World.

We continue to maintain that an individual’s sexuality is a strictly private matter. Indeed this article is more critical of the attempts by the News of the World to edit the photographs so as not to convey the identity of the individuals concerned.