Stephanie Hayden, a trans woman, has disputed a “grossly irresponsible” story about her in The Mail on Sunday, which was shared by Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter.
Hayden, who is a lawyer, heavily criticised the national newspaper for an article it published on Sunday (February 10), telling PinkNews she will be taking legal action for defamation and has filed a complaint with press regulator IPSO.
The Mail on Sunday article alleges that 38-year-old mother Katherine Scottow, from Hertfordshire, was “arrested in front of her children and locked up for seven hours” because she referred to Hayden as a “man” on Twitter.
The paper claims that “it was complaints by Miss Hayden that led both to the arrest of, and injunction against, Mrs Scottow.”
The article subsequently went viral and was shared by the US president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who described the incident as “insane,” asking his followers: “Are we getting to the PC tipping point yet?”
However, Hayden, posted a statement on Twitter on Tuesday (February 12), claiming that the police arrest, in fact, stems from Scottow allegedly sharing “confidential details of my personal medical and financial information” on social media.
The Mail on Sunday’s story is “grossly irresponsible,” says trans woman Stephanie Hayden
The Mail on Sunday‘s report does not include claims that Scottow leaked private information about Hayden, giving the impression the woman was arrested for misgendering Hayden.
“On 10 February 2019 a story appeared in the Mail on Sunday by Martin Beckford infereing [sic] that I had made a complaint to Hertfordshire Police about Katherine Scottow alleging that she had misgendered me as a man resulting in her arrest and detention on 1 December 2018,” said Hayden in the statement.
Hayden added that “the police report concerned the unauthorised disclosure of private information about me” and that Hertfordshire Police made the independent decision to arrest Scottow.
Hayden told PinkNews that the Mail on Sunday‘s story, written by the newspaper’s home affairs editor Martin Beckford, is “an example of grossly irresponsible reporting.”
“Mr Beckford’s one sided and prejudicial story has potentially prejudiced a criminal investigation,” she added.
“Further, it has whipped up a public frenzy designed to target me, a transgender woman who is legally recognised by the state as a woman, for abuse and ridicule.”
Hayden said that, following the story’s publication on Sunday, she has received numerous abusive messages, “many of them carrying threats of violence or even death.”
She continued: “I believe that The Mail on Sunday has defamed me, exposed me to harassment, and did not even extend to me the courtesy of giving me advance notice of the story and/or allowing me any right of reply.
“A complaint has already been filed with the Independent Press Standards Organisation. I will very shortly be commencing legal action in the High Court for defamation and harassment.”
“It has whipped up a public frenzy designed to target me, a transgender woman who is legally recognised by the state as a woman, for abuse and ridicule.”
—Stephanie Hayden told PinkNews
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The Mail on Sunday told PinkNews that it did not believe that its story is inaccurate.
John Wellington, managing editor of Mail on Sunday, told PinkNews: “We have no reason to think our article was inaccurate and Ms Hayden has made no complaint to us.”
A spokesperson from Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed to PinkNews that a 38-year-old woman was arrested in December and later released from custody.
The spokesperson said the force is “investigating an allegation of malicious communication,” adding that it has “submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to determine if formal charges can be brought in line with national guidance in dealing with hate crime.”
“As part of the investigation, a lap top and mobile phone were seized for examination which has now taken place and the property has been returned to its owner,” the spokesperson continued.
“The impact of ‘hate crime’ cannot be underestimated and Hertfordshire Constabulary will continue to respond positively when allegations emerge, providing support to victims as required.”
The woman remains under police investigation, the spokesperson said.
Trans corrections in other newspapers
Hayden’s criticism of the Mail on Sunday comes after another tabloid newspaper, The Daily Star, recently published a correction after it falsely claimed that child murderer Ian Huntley is trans.
And, in January, the MailOnline apologised to charity Mermaids UK over an “incorrect” story concerning hormone replacement therapy and trans kids.