In March 2019, under the leadership of Duncan Heenan, Naturist Action Group launched its Press and Media Group, who will seek to challenge and educate editors and journalists when they misrepresent naturism through clumsy words and misplaced associations. By doing so, it is hoped that incidents like the one that happened outside Blackpool’s Sandcastle Waterpark will be prevented. Sadly, as the two events happened at roughly the same time, the group was unable to intervene; not that was a lot they could do at that stage as the damage had already been done.
One of the Press and Media Group volunteers carried out a bit of research and this is what he found out.
From their Facebook page, Templar Knights are a group of paedophile hunters but the root cause of the incident in Blackpool is an article posted on Cornwall Live from 25 February 2019, which was posted on their page. It concerns a husband and wife sentenced to 39-years in prison for the systematic abuse of his son and her three daughters, and of one other child. In the article, the journalist, Chris Matthews wrote: ‘…the male victim (Mr X’s son) recalls being groomed by being taken to nudist beaches and being made to feel being naked around two adults and touching each other was normal family behaviour.’ This is how it was described in court but with these words, Matthews has linked naturism with paedophilia in the minds of his readers. If the victim had said they were taken to any old beach and groomed there, would that have got a mention? Somehow, we doubt it and for the victim it didn’t matter what type of beach it was. And yet, the newspaper’s editor claimed it was in the public’s interest for them to know the grooming took place at a known naturist beach.
There are just seven volunteers in the Press and Media Group at the moment, but to cover the country properly they could do with 70 or more. That is not currently feasible, but volunteers are still being sought because, as they say, every little bit helps. If you’re interested, please contact Duncan through our website.