The Sun has responded to a Facebook post by Paul Gascoigne’s sister Lindsay Gascoigne, accusing the newspaper of planting bottles of alcohol outside the former England international footballer’s house, telling The Drum they “flatly deny the allegations made”.
Gascoigne first revealed his battle with alcoholism on This Morning in 2014 and has made headlines since, often the subject of scrutiny in mass market papers the Sun and the Daily Mail.
Most recently, the Daily Mail and the Sun reported a story in which Gascoigne “inadvertently exposed himself in the street on a trip to buy alcohol wearing only his dressing gown”, published in July. The Sun broke the story with an exclusive picture of Gascoigne in his gown, reporting it as a “new low” for the football icon. The Mail used the same wording in its original headline, but later changed it to "new fears".
This had led to the Sun being singled out by Gascoigne’s family and Alcohol Awareness specialist Gary Topley as perpetuating his battle with alcoholism by “stigmatizing against those with alcohol and mental health issues”.
A petition was brought up by Topley around five weeks ago to “stop the media harassment of Paul Gascoigne”, stop the stigmatizing of the Sun, and to “open up a conversation on a wider nationwide scale with regard to societal stigmas in the hope these can be reduced”.
At the time of publishing, the petition is only 74 signatures off its 7,500 target.
The petition will be delivered to Conservative MP for Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and Sun news reporter Andy Crick.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday morning (7 August), Lindsay Gascoigne urged friends to sign the petition to “stop this horrendous treatment towards my family”. She went on to allege Sun reporters “not only laugh and mock my family” but buy bottles of alcohol and leave them outside Gascoigne’s front door “just for that picture and they think it's funny”.