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A controversial rugby pundit employed by The BBC who used foul language to abuse publicly a fan, called others “bell ends”, and was filmed spraying a fire extinguisher into the face of a celebrity friend, promoted a South Wales fish and chip shop where the owner has been banned from acting as a company director for five years after failing to declare nearly £460,000 of tax, The Eye can reveal.
Contentious former rugby international Jonathan Davies used Twitter to thank the Crispy Cod for deliveries, yet
An investigation carried out by tax officials showed that Mr Williams, director of MAW Catering Services Limited, which traded as The Crispy Cod, did not pay £459,522 in VAT, over a five year period from January 2012 to July 2017, and he was also accused of failing to submit correct VAT returns.
Despite this The Crispy Cod said: “This was one of the best days of 2018. feeding this legend and finding out he changed from union to league on the same day as our birthday @JiffyRugby” with a picture of Mr Davies embracing Mr Williams.
Earlier THIS year, Mr Davies thanked them for the delivery saying it was lovely, with a thumbs up sign, and included a social media announcement giving the business’s opening times. In the past he has even made a video featuring the Crispy Cod.
This, however, is not the first time that Mr Davies has been forced to confront challenging headlines.
During a Wales v England rugby game he was described on Twitter as a “moron” a “total disgrace”, “awful”, and a fan said he wanted to rip his ears off “every time (he) opens his mouth”.
Another television viewer of the match said: “@BBCSport can you please stop Jonathan Davies from having an input into ANY rugby commentary! It’s painful! I’ve had to turn the sound off and listen to Radio commentary of the game”.
Before a previous game he said live on air: “…the referee’s French, so anything could happen”.
In the Wales game against Ireland The Eye showed how Mr Davies had then been dubbed on Twitter, “awful”, “biased”, “insufferable”, spouting “bullshit” and sounding as if he was “masturbating”, with the BBC being urged to “get rid” of him.
Recently he said on the YouTube podcast ‘Jiffy and Stubbsy’ that he was “saddened” another contributor was not using social media, adding: “I don’t give a monkey’s about the bell ends…”.
In another episode of the podcast, Mr Davies said: “If I say something, all of a sudden, people write a tweet and go ‘he should be sacked’ and copy in the BBC”.
It has also emerged that earlier he had told a rugby fan on Twitter: “fuck you and your lads’ cock”.
After seeing Mr Davies’ tweet and comment on YouTube, a leading sports journalist who supplies material for UK publications, told The Eye: “He (Jonathan Davies) really is a disgusting individual”.
These are set against an alarming backdrop as Mr Davies’ bosses at The BBC have also come under fire, and when neutrality is being emphasised.
But he appears to be nervous about some of the reaction he receives on social media, although it seems that much of the criticism may be valid, and Mr Davies, who is an extensive user of Twitter, has rarely been far from the news.
On social media Mr Davies has sent a picture of himself with no clothes on to TV and radio star Carol Vorderman.
He has also faced huge criticism following statements which have included calling the Rhondda MP Chris Bryant a “knob” on Twitter, for asking about childcare during a House of Commons debate.
The fury of Mr Davies has too been directed at journalist Marcus Stead on social media after he had criticised what he views as the Welsh establishment. He engaged in an extraordinary spat with him, again using Twitter, in which he branded Mr Stead, an “attention seeking nobody”, a “sad pathetic waste of time” and ‘hashtagged’ the words “absolute bell end”.
Mr Davies also posted on social media a fake picture of one rugby fan, a well-known Welsh supporter, wearing a Pontypridd RFC shirt but he was then slammed for “essentially fat shaming someone because they disagree with them”, and the observer linked the comment to @BBCSport @BBCNews 5liveSport and @BBCWalesNews, saying they should be “embarrassed”, and that it was a “Dick move”.
But Mr Davies has said on social media that The Eye’s reporting of all this was “negative journalism”, and a supporter of his, Marc Winchester, wrote on the Twitter thread: “I’ll whack him (The Eye Editor Phil Parry)“.
This threat was described as a ‘joke’ by Mr Winchester, who has proclaimed he was a multi-millionaire but ran a convenience store, yet it was still reported to the police who mounted an investigation.
A further shocked viewer of another of Mr Davies’ recent ‘re-tweets’ of one message that “lockdowns are unnecessary” said: “This seems close to being a Covid conspiracy theory now”.
Yet it is the commentary style of Mr Davies which has particularly come under attack. Apart from the Rugby Union clash with England, the criticism was levelled at him before, during and after The Challenge Rugby League Cup final.
Earlier howls of outrage on Twitter had greeted news of Mr Davies’ inclusion in rugby league presentation teams, including: “Jonathan Davies ruins these games for me”. There have been complaints on social media about his mispronunciation of ‘Salford’, he has been described as a “dipshit”, and one rugby league fan said “Why do we have 2 have Jonathan Davies on rl 4BBC” with a picture of an upset emoji after the comment.
On this occasion a distraught supporter asked why sport executives could not have found someone: “more relevant than Jonathan Davies” with another upset emoji following the remark. A different fan said Mr Davies “chats so much shite” while another said it was “Time to hang the mic up!”.
Mr Davies has also been accused of publishing ‘rubbish’ and ‘ranting’, after stating on social media that controversial plans to re-develop a Cardiff cancer hospital would leave 60 per cent of a meadow available to walkers when campaigners say surveys have indicated all will be destroyed.
Contradicting him, one campaigner declared about the project to re-develop Velindre Hospital: “The whole area will be bulldozed, £27 million of public money just to access this unsuitable site…” Another cautioned: “Let’s talk Jonathan, not rant.”
Mr Davies (one of whose Twitter accounts is @JiffyRugby and includes ‘OBE’ after his name) is President of Velindre Fundraising, and demanded of one of the campaigners: “Have you or anyone close to you ever been unfortunate enough to have cancer?”.
But the advocate for a green space in that part of the city hit back, and said: “Absolutely yes, many of those opposing the site are current patients at Velindre”.
Warnings were also repeated about the hazards involved in the misuse of fire extinguishers after experts were shown shocking pictures from a video of Mr Davies using one to spray into the face of his friend, former international rugby referee Nigel Owens, as he sat in his car while another person filming the dangerous stunt laughed. This too was posted on the internet.
The escapade with a fire extinguisher was in the car park of an independent TV facilities house near what was then the headquarters of BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) in Llandaff, Cardiff, in 2014, and was condemned as “incredibly dangerous”.
It prompted a series of outraged comments at the time on a sports Facebook (FB) site.
One critic said: “…did he give any thought to what injuries he may have caused?…We all like a good laugh sadly this isn’t it”. Another declared that Mr Davies was a “fucking prick”, a further detractor stated that he didn’t think “people realise how dangerous CO2 extinguishers are”. In the clip now on YouTube, Mr Owens escapes from the car running, but Mr Davies uses the fire extinguisher again, as the person filming it exclaims in Welsh “OH, NO!”, and Mr Owens then shouts “IDIOT!” at him pointing.
Behaviour like this, though, as well as Mr Davies’ comments, sit uncomfortably with the guidelines emphasised by BBC Director General Tim Davie, which tell presenters: “…don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’”.
But it appears to be acceptable to use foul language in abusing publicly a fan, call others “bell ends”, and being filmed spraying a fire extinguisher into the face of a celebrity friend, as well as promote a South Wales fish and chip shop where the owner has been banned from acting as a company director for five years after failing to declare nearly £460,000 worth of tax.
Sport punditry and promoting a business which failed to declare tax, makes for strange bed fellows…
Tomorrow – as new, worrying, details come to light of how media freedom is under threat even in the United States of America, Phil looks at why laws around the world, not least in Wales, restrict inquiring journalism, when the kind of investigative reporting he undertakes is needed more than ever to keep those in power on their toes.
The memories of his astonishing decades long award-winning career in journalism (including news behind the headlines of sport) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!
Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.