Last week, 71 Republic’s Carlos Hermosillo wrote two pieces on MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s alleged sexual misconduct. Shortly after we published the second piece, McGregor’s PR agent, Caroline McAteer, sent us an email in which she demanded we remove the second piece. The article in question, which stated that McGregor supposedly offered more than a million Euros to his alleged rape victim, is available here. But 71 Republic is uninterested in McAteer’s little intimidation game.
From Sunday to Tuesday, Caroline McAteer, director of The Sports PR Company, sent 71 Republic a series of obnoxious emails. One of the UK’s top PR agents, her common theme was an attempt to suppress negative press against her client.
This is far from the first time that McAteer has come under fire for trying to manipulate the media. In fact, the Guardian ran a piece in 2003 in which they revealed that some showbiz correspondents refer to her as the “devil woman” for her vicious tendency to demand corrections when she believes the writers have misrepresented her clients. The writers maintain that no such misrepresentation is present. Starting to see a parallel? One correspondent noted that “as far as she’s concerned, everything’s wrong”.
This week, Caroline McAteer continued what appears to be at least a 15-year long legacy of trying to control what isn’t hers to control. Though her client is now Conor McGregor, rather than David Beckham, her desire to obfuscate the truth has yet to wane.
On Tuesday, October 22, the day of the second article’s publication, McAteer emailed the following to CEO Matthew Geiger:
“Matt – your article regarding our client is false and defamatory – suggest you remove immediately unless you wish us to take legal action ?
Sent from my iPhone”
The thing is, though, the article isn’t false. Hermosillo sources the piece well with links to the New York Times and Forbes, among other outlets.
Caroline McAteer Continues
However, McAteer foolishly kept going. On Tuesday, October 29, she sent another prickly message to Geiger.
“I am well aware of the US law which also does not permit you to print lies about an individual ?
Can put our lawyers in touch should you require further clarification?
Sent from my iPhone”
Though the United Kingdom has no problem going after people for unpopular speech, the United States doesn’t operate that way. Despite prompting, McAteer was unable to point specifically to any supposedly untrue section of Hermosillo’s article.
Geiger then responded to McAteer, effectively conveying the accurate message that McGregor’s scandal is her problem to deal with.
I understand that allegations of your client being a sex offender make your job difficult, but frankly that is your problem—not ours. We remain confident the 1st Amendment and decades of subsequent case law protect the free press over the feelings of your client. US media organizations enjoy protections that British organizations don’t, and we are not intimidated by your threats.
The PR agent’s string of emails had a poorly-disguised goal: suppressing speech that places her client in a negative light. Unfortunately for her, we at 71 Republic take the matter of free speech very seriously.
71 Republic reached out to McAteer for further comment for this article; she did not immediately respond.
McAteer’s mockery of free speech is a stain on the principles of responsible journalism. Her empty threats seek to remove truth from the world and replace it with feeble protection for a powerful sports figure. We at 71 Republic give no advantages to McAteer, McGregor, or his accusers; truth alone will guide them to their respective fates.
Ms. McAteer, if you want the McGregor piece removed, come and take it.