The ‘punch’ and the Hyde Park water fight

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 1, 2008

Category: Old Media

This entry was posted on
Friday, August 1st, 2008
12:55 pm and is filed
under Old Media.

Daily Mail – Pictured: The moment a man punched a girl off her feet during a Facebook water fight: This is the moment a girl was punched off her feet during a water fight in a park in which nine people were arrested.

No it’s not. This is the moment a girl had her hair pulled by the one guy in this series of pictures who isn’t carrying a container of liquid or a water pistol.

Seriously, look at the picture. Her head is most likely going backwards because he’s wrestling with her, not because he’s punching her. She certainly isn’t shown being “lifted completely off her feet” by a punch.

Also take a look at the awkward grip she has on that heavy, un-lidded bottle full of liquid… which she managed to keep a firm hold of most of the way down (if not all the way down) to the ground. I’d like to see anyone keep a grip like that during a proper clocking, I don’t care how fond they are of their bottle of red pop.

Take a look at a taller version of this picture, and the most likely scenario that presents itself is this idiot pulling her hair/head down as he swings his left leg under her feet. Take a look at the wide shot and you may notice some remarkably calm faces watching what is supposed to be the middle of an almighty swing at their friend. (Oh, and some picnickers who appear to be unaware that a ‘riot’ is in progress.)

I am not seeing a lot to suggest that this sensitive flower landed the woman with a Popeye-style punch that knocked her clear off her feet and onto her arse, causing her to see little cartoon birdies flying around her head.

But I suppose the truth doesn’t matter if you have a tabloid to shift.

Other possible embellishments include accounts of spooked horses and griglets with bones that may or may not be broken, definitions of the event as an all-out riot, and what I suspect to be the biggest whopper of all…

The Sun – Facebook party turns violent: This shocking snap of a girl getting punched in the face shows the moment a Facebook water fight party descended into chaos. The Hyde Park event got out of hand as youths ran amok, threatening the public and flashing knives, causing the cops to steam in and make nine arrests.

And yet, strangely, no-one was arrested for a knife-related crime and, so far, the police have not reported finding weapons (other than water pistols) at the scene.

I think the BBC strays closer to the truth of the matter here..

BBC – Nine held after park water fight: Reports then came into police that some people involved had been seen with knives.

Tellingly, the Daily Mail manages to work Princess Di into the second paragraph and The Sun, a News International newspaper, leans towards its usual position of laying as much blame as possible at the feet of Facebook; the main commercial rival to Murdoch-owned MySpace.

Most of this story appears to be biased and alarmist claptrap based (very) loosely on the official police version of events and the accounts of two unnamed witnesses.

If you know anyone who was actually present at this event, please do get in touch.

Maybe now that the weather has cooled some, the truth might be encouraged to put its damn pants on.


  1. charlieman says

    I think that you are investing too much in this story, Tim. A bunch of idiots meet up on the internet for a water fight in a public place. The event is not an entirely happy one (as generally happens when loads of people who don't know one another get together [eg weddings]). And lots of people have cameras, so it is certain to be in the newspapers during the silly season.The event was idiotic and if the muscular guy in the �2 Primark T-shirt was an incidental by-stander squirted with red pop, I could understand his anger. Which does not excuse the alleged response. Grabbing hold of somebody's hair is common assault.If I organised a conference, I would make sure that I had public liability insurance for the event. If Steve Ballmer was attending, I'd check for loons in the delegate list. I would take responsibility.If I organised a flash event on the net, I would expect a few loons. Even if I had provided an acceptable conduct list, I would expect breaches. You cannot presume that everyone understands the joke in the same way as you. Thus mayhem. With flash events, there is no ownership or responsibilty. The assumption is that anybody who reads a web page, possibly following a few links, gets the concept. Which is just plain wrong.And quite fairly, flash event promoters in the UK are going to end up in court. If their actions require police stewardship, they should pay at the same rate as a soccer club.

  2. Manic says

    Happy to have that conversation, but perhaps not here. Short version: I used to hold public liability insurance when I was a DJ, and I see your point.But this post is about tabloids twisting and inventing things, and I don't think there's any call for it. I don't think it's at all constructive to generate needless fear in order to push an agenda and/or shift papers.

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