Cheryl Fernandez-Versini: Journalist who posted Instagram photo of singer defends herself after 'week of hell'

Laura Craik claims singer's 'soldiers' wanted her sacked and left financially destitute 

Olivia Blair
Tuesday 01 December 2015 17:21 GMT
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The photo was taken at the British Fashion Awards last week
The photo was taken at the British Fashion Awards last week (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

The journalist who photographed Cheryl Fernandez-Versini at the British Fashion Awards has written how the “trick of the light” in her Instagram post led to a tabloid news story alleging the X-Factor judge was “in the presence of three lines of white powder”.

Laura Craik, a fashion editor at the London Evening Standard, warned others to be careful what they post on social media and apologised for posting an “ill-advised photo of a celebrity washing her hands” which led to a “week of hell”.

Ms Craik explained how, upon noticing Fernandez-Versini in the bathroom during the British Fashion Awards, she took a picture of the singer washing her hands.

She captioned the photo “sadness in her eyes” – a reference to the tweet by Kay Burley which sent the internet into a frenzy following the Paris terror attacks.

However shortly after taking the photo Ms Craik felt uncomfortable about posting the image without Fernandez-Versini’s knowledge and claims she deleted it ten minutes later.

During these ten minutes, a journalist from The Sun snapped the image as they seemingly noticed what looked like “splodges of an ambiguous white substance”, which Ms Craik attributes to a reflection from overhead halogen spotlights.

“For The Sun, the fact that it appeared in such close proximity to Cheryl made a more dubious interpretation too scandalous to resist.

Ms Craik claims The Sun attempted to “frame [her] as the villain and “turned the innocent trick of the light into a news story”.

“These were The Sun’s words, not mine. I had never suggested that she was in the presence of three lines of white powder — principally because there never were three lines of white powder.

“But as every good tabloid journalist knows, you don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

The Sun removed the image from the story after Ms Craik signed over copyright to Fernandez-Versini, however the story was still widely reported and Ms Craik was the subject of trolling by the singer’s “soldier” fanbase on social media.

Further reports and an Instagram post by Fernandez-Versini herself seemed to suggest she was considering legal action.

“Cheryl’s soldiers didn’t realise that the legal action their idol was seeking was against The Sun… Rather than working against her, I worked with her to get the picture banned.”

Ms Craik, who claims she apologised to Fernandez-Versini through her PR the next day, wrote of the trolling: “When words failed the trolls – perhaps they were too furious to type – they simply used emojis. Guns, skulls and hammers lit up my feed… did anyone even consider the fact that all I’d done was make a stupid mistake?

“My friends knew the truth but Cheryl’s soldiers wanted me sacked and financially destitute.”

The Independent has contacted both The Sun and a representative of Fernandez-Versini for comment.

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