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Hundreds sign up to support Manchester Mill following Sacha Lord legal notice plea

While we’d be the last to advocate a high-profile legal threat as a useful method of attracting readers, the Manchester Mill has undoubtedly enjoyed a spike in interest following yesterday’s news that it has received legal notice from representatives of Greater Manchester night time economy advisor and Parklife creator Sacha Lord.

The letter demanded the publisher removes, corrects and apologises for a disputed story it published last week. The story at the centre of the dispute concerned Arts Council England funding one of Lord’s companies, Primary Event Solutions, received during the pandemic.

The Mill asked readers and supporters to help with fact checking pages of documents related to the case ahead of a 4pm today deadline to remove the story, set by Lord’s legal team ahead of further action, and the plea seems to have been impressively answered.

In an update last night, Mill founder and editor Joshi Hermann said: “The editor’s note has now been read more than 50,000 times. 101 new paying members have joined since 7am and 279 new Millers have joined the free list too. In total, we’ve received more than 120 messages as part of the fact-check, which are now being fed into a big spreadsheet for checking and confirmation.”

Hermann added that, thanks to the public response, new email evidence and witnesses that corroborate its own version of events had already come to light, and that three staff writers and two student reporters would be working on the story today ahead of the 4pm removal deadline.

In a statement given to Prolific North yesterday, Lord’s spokesperson strongly disputed “the accuracy, reliability and transparency” of the Mill story.

This story looks like it could run and run, and for the next chapter we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for whether the story remains online at 4.01pm this afternoon.

Lord’s team’s statement in full read:

“I can confirm Mr Sacha Lord has instructed solicitors and a specialist defamation KC and has started legal proceedings against The Millers Publishing Company Limited and its publication The Mill Manchester in response to a defamatory and factually incorrect article published Thursday, 16 May 2024.

“We vehemently disagree with the article and strongly dispute the accuracy, reliability and transparency of its sources.

“Furthermore, the latest review by Arts Council England (dated December 2022) and in reference to the grant provided to Primary Event Solutions Limited, concluded that Arts Council England was satisfied with the evidence provided by Primary Event Solutions Limited and that no misuse of public money had been found. This outcome was explicitly provided to The Mill ahead of publication. 

“Since 2020, The Mill Manchester has published nine separate articles critical of Mr Lord, and as such we are saddened but not surprised by these latest additions to their campaign of negativity against him.

“The Mill and its founder, Joshi Herrmann, advocate for truthful, transparent and quality journalism and we are disappointed that these values and journalistic standards have not been upheld by their own publication.

“No further comment will be provided at this time.”

(Photo courtesy Promoter Fund)

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