Dog’s dinner

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The man behind posting a picture of a dog in a sheet, still expounded his views on podcasts, despite the failure of his media outlets

A so-called ‘joke’ on the internet about the Eisteddfod featuring a dog dressed as an archdruid by a failed media executive and ‘comedian’, has been condemned as “cruel”, “against everything about (the event), and advice from an animal charity warning against dressing up a pet was pointedly posted on Facebook (FB).

The picture was published on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) by the controversial account “Welsh Bollocks”, but we have shown how the man behind it (Huw Marshall) had earlier made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language on social media to abuse prominent politicians, was placed under police investigation, tried to finish off The Eye, and been responsible for the ‘Bollocks’ version being officially reprimanded.

Mr Marshall was told off by Twitter (as it then was) because his personal account  “violated the Twitter Rules”, and it was proclaimed that “Welsh Bollocks”, had also broken their regulations.

The contentious tweet after this year’s Eisteddfod has caused a huge storm on the internet and elsewhere.

One visitor to the field, or Maes, in Boduan on the Lleyn peninsular said: “Dyma greulon iawn i anifeiliaid, ac yn erbyn popeth am y Eisteddfod/This is very cruel to animals, and against everything about the Eisteddfod”.

Even if the picture was ‘found’ on the internet, ‘re-sharing’ it appears to fly in the face of accepted practice, and an international animal welfare website proclaimed: “‘…don’t put clothing on your dog unless it is necessary. Be fair and consider the fact that you are doing it for your gratification and not theirs…only put your dog in the outfit if you are sure that they are happy'”.

A warning was pointedly posted on social media by one critic, with a picture of a dog in a coat, from the animal  charity the PDSA: “‘Is it helping your pet or is it more for your enjoyment?'”.

Mr Marshall’s personal posts on X show his new role at St Fagan’s National Museum of History near Cardiff, but they might not be considered neutral.

A recent one proclaimed that he had heard “interesting” conversations on independence, yet many ‘Yeses’ were also featured on the wall.

A ‘joke’ was made about the Eisteddford, but some here didn’t like it…

But Mr Marshall is no stranger to worrying headlines.

He founded The National Wales (TNW), which was initially a newspaper as well as a website, and the website Corgi Cymru (CC), with the London and US-based firm Newsquest, but both folded in 2021, with the former lasting only 18 months while the latter closed after just six months.

Mr Marshall was awarded a substantial taxpayers’ grant through the Welsh Government’s (WG’s) Books Council of Wales (BCW), however many have questioned this funding given the background of the man involved.

Armed police surrounded Raoul Moat – but Huw Marshall made a ‘joke’ about the incident

In 2010 two people died and a police officer lost his eye-sight when rampaging gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet Mr Marshall published a ‘funny’ message on his Facebook (FB) site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some funMy Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters.  

Another post read: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.

Prominent politician Ken Skates, MS, cannot have been happy at being called a ‘gloating t**t’ by Huw Marshall

Meanwhile the abuse from him of senior politicians, came almost 10 years ago, with one of his remarks hurled at the Labour MS Ken Skates, while another was directed at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black. After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall (who has himself stood for PC) referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”, and he described Mr Black as a “humourless (sic) t..t”, as well as a “dull, tedious t..t”.

Apart from these sorts of remarks and the Twitter (X) admonishment, it is thought that Mr Marshall may also have been responsible for sending unwanted takeaways to people’s homes, as well as other misdeeds.

In response to a police inquiry into his actions, Mr Marshall said on Twitter (X) that he had told South Wales Police (SWP) he intended to make a complaint, however officers answered by informing him that they had a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.

Phil got angry at being called a liar

Following The Eye bringing this out, along with many of Mr Marshall’s other previous controversies, he attempted to have us closed down, alleging “violent threats and harassment”, when there have been no threats of violence from our journalists, and the only harassment has come from him after he used social media to dub senior Welsh politicians “t**ts”, and our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, a “liar”.

He has also published an article about a doctor learning Welsh, which bore a striking resemblance to an item on the website of a centre which teaches the language to adults, Nant Gwrtheyrn.

 

But intriguing, high-profile characters backed another of Mr Marshall’s unsuccessful ventures (The National Wales [TNW]), even while the ‘stories’ in it were described by Private Eye (PE) as being “cut and pasted from other news organisations”. Questions have been raised after similar articles in many other publications, and they have been highlighted, too, by The Eye. 

Mr Marshall headlined one of ‘his’ stories: “Aldey Hey Choldren’s Hospital doctor on learning Welsh” when it is in fact AldeR Hey and, of course, CHILDREN’S (correct spelling is critical for aspiring journalists). The item began:  “Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years. etc. The Nant Gwrtheyrn article opened with:  Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years.” etc.

Even before the unveiling of TNW, Mr Marshall had prompted criticism on social media.

A potential supporter of TNW was uneasy about the funding stream, and announced on Twitter (X) “for me it’s important to be owned and run in Wales”. Another declared:  “He’s (Mr Marshall) been saying for a while that there is a “Partner” on board……I assumed that it was a local, welsh business……but it does indeed look like it is News quest! !”.

A further critic said on Twitter (X): “Why are we having to use a London based company?”. A different detractor stated: “Gotta be honest, a London-headquarterd media outlet is not at all what I thought I was supporting, purported editorial freedom or nay.  I have some reasonably major reservations”.

The headline-grabbing Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) member for Blaenau Gwent, and former Welsh Government (WG) minister, Alun Davies, MS, proclaimed on Twitter before the launch  of TNW “Well.  I wish you best of luck with this initiative. Anything to strengthen our news environment should receive a warm welcome”.

A ‘warm welcome’ was given, as well, to the ‘pilot’ for it which was also wished “Best of luck” by WG minister Lee Waters, although he seemed to have changed his tune when he actually read it. Mr Waters (a former producer on the BBC Cymru Wales [BBC CW] radio programme Good Morning Wales [GMW]) stated on FB:  “Well I’ve just bought a copy and think its pretty dull”.

Lee Waters, MS, soon changed his tune about The National Wales, saying: “Well I’ve just bought a copy and think its pretty dull”

Another reader of the paper’s first edition (who is a prominent journalist too) said:  It (TNW) starts with worthy statements about how we deserve better fearless, independent and unintimidated media in Wales and should be happy to pay for it then gives us a timid, third rate product filled mainly with political comment from compromised sources who wouldn’t know a truth if it whacked them over the head with a cricket bat.

Clearly Mr Marshall has support, despite the fact that he has been investigated by the police, insulted senior Welsh politicians, and tried to silence an independent website. The senior Welsh journalist Tim Hartley tweeted: “Quite properly shamed into subscribing.  Good luck with the campaign Huw and the crew”. Mr Hartley is also a strong football fan (like Mr Marshall), and even recorded a song (with others), supporting the Wales team at the World Cup in Qatar, despite the fact that being gay is unlawful in the country.

“A free and independent media is the lifeblood of any democracy…”

Perhaps Mr Hartley was impressed by Mr Marshall’s grand statements about the media in Wales. His grandiloquent comments have included ones such as: “A free and independent media is the lifeblood of any democracy…”.

It appears, though, that inquiries by ‘free and independent’ The Eye (unsupported by the taxpayer unlike Mr Marshall’s), are unwelcome to him as he approached a specialist internet company in his fruitless attempt to shut us down.

Phil started in journalism in 1983

Evidently Mr Marshall (who is apparently seen as part of the Welsh-speaking establishment) does not know his journalist libel law either (which may, possibly, have contributed to the winding-up of his TNW), because he has said on Twitter that Phil is a ‘liar’ and an “obsessive coward”, linking the inaccurate comments to an earlier piece that had been written about the scheme. Mr Marshall has also called Phil a “self proclaimed journalist”, which may not be libellous but is provably wrong as he trained to be a journalist in 1983 on the best newspaper course in the UK before moving into television, and he has won an enormous number of awards.

Mr Marshall has said, as well, that he has a number of different Twitter (X) accounts, but stesses he reserves one for items which may bother Phil, declaring: “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”, which was the account that “violated the Twitter rules”.

This may, perhaps, have contributed to the huge organisation Newsquest Media Group (NMG) confirming the closure of his CC after just five months in business, saying the project was not “economically sustainable”. The termination of the service came just two months after the shutdown of TNW, but it had only started on St David’s Day 2021.

The Western Mail raised major questions

As the Western Mail (WM) reported about CC’s demise: “There are calls for a review of how £100,000 of public money was given to support the launch of a Welsh language news service that is to close five months later”.

The public grant was made through the BCW, and was one of two grants from them to fund Welsh language digital news services. The other was given to the established operator Golwg360, with each site due to receive £100,000 a year until 2026.

It was claimed a new service he was about to launch would be run by a team of seven full-time journalists, supported by six technical, sales and administrative staff. Yet Mr Marshall’s record on job creation for journalists has not been a good one.  For one of his ventures he said 20 posts would be secured, but this figure stood in stark contrast to what was then offered in his advert for “Digital reporters (x2), audience and content editor (x1)”.

However this is as nothing compared with what has now been advertised – of a dog dressed in a sheet – and the storm it then provoked…

 

Phil’s memories of his remarkable decades long award-winning career in journalism (long before the advent of the short-lived TNW) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now! 

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.