Theatre critic Mark Shenton loses sex discrimination case against Desmond's Express


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A leading theatre critic who claimed that he was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation by Express Newspapers has lost his case.

Mark Shenton, former theatre critic for the Sunday Express, claimed that he was sacked after nude pictures of him on a gay website were sent to his employers in an act of “revenge porn”.

An employment tribunal heard that the Sunday Express editor Martin Townsend had told Shenton that the pictures, which the paper had been alerted to by an ex-partner of the critic’s, were an embarrassment for the publication and its reputation.

But the tribunal ruled that Shenton had no grounds for an unfair dismissal claim since he was a freelance contributor and Express Newspapers had not in any way discriminated against him based on his sexuality. Shenton, the paper’s theatre critic for 11 years, was paid a monthly retainer for his columns and was not a staff member.

A spokesman for Northern and Shell, owner of Express Newspapers said “After going through this robust legal process we are very pleased that the Tribunal has found in our favour on all counts.”