Jack Andrews, a reporter with the Daily Star, had the byline on an interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in which the WWE star rail against snowflakes. The story was published in the early hours of January 11. Shortly afterward, the story was aggregated across the world with conservative news outlets in the U.S. paying particular attention to The Rock’s words. Hours later, The Rock took to his official Instagram page to say that the interview and his quotes were fabricated.
At the time of writing the story has been deleted from the Daily Star’s website. You can read a cached version of the article here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jack Andrews Quoted the Rock as Saying ‘Generation Snowflake Are Actually Putting Us Backwards,’ Which Is Not Standard American English
The article quotes The Rock as saying, “Generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards.” The Rock, a U.S. citizen, would be more likely to use the word “Backward,” rather than “Backwards.”
The piece goes on to say, “I don’t have to agree with what somebody thinks, who they vote for, what they voted for, what they think, but I will back their right to say or believe it. That’s democracy. So many good people fought for freedom and equality – but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended.”
2. The Rock Says He ‘Never Said Any of Those Words’
In an Instagram post, the Rock says, “The interview never took place, never happened, never said any of those words, completely untrue, 100% fabricated, I was quite baffled when I woke up this morning. You know it’s not a real DJ interview if I’m insulting a group, a generation or anyone, because that’s not me.” In the caption of the post, The Rock went on to say, “f I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generation — I’d seek them out, create dialogue and do my best to understand them. Criticizing ain’t my style. I don’t cast stones and we all get to be who we are.”
3. The Daily Star Has Yet to Offer an Explanation for the Article
The Daily Star has yet to either stand by the story, although it has been deleted from their homepage, or offered an explanation as to how it was published. The Guardian reports that the interview “may” have been provided to the newspaper by a freelancer and then written up by a staff writer. The newspaper says that the freelancer is outside of the United Kingdom and is “not responding to messages.”
4. Jack Andrews Has 146 Stories on the Daily Star Website
According to Jack Andrews’ Daily Star author page, he has published 146 articles for the website. Those articles go back to 2012 and sees him cover soap operas, soccer and celebrities. On his Muck Rack page, it says that Andrews has worked for the Daily Mirror, which is owned by Reach, the company that owns the Daily Star. It also says that he has written for The Sun, the Surrey Advertiser and Cecil Whig.
5. The Daily Star Is the 7th Most Circulated Newspaper in the UK
The Daily Star has a circulation of 401,616, according to November 2017 numbers, making it the seventh highest circulated newspaper in the United Kingdom. The tabloid has been at the center of controversial stories in the past.
In 1989, the newspaper was proven to have made up claims that during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, Liverpool fans had picked the pockets of victims and that they had drunkenly attacked police officers. Despite this fake coverage, the Star never endured the wrath of the bereaved in the same manner as the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun.
More recently, the newspaper was forced to pay substantial damages to Rockstar Games, the creators of the “Grand Theft Auto” game series. An article in the newspaper claimed that the latest installment of the game would be based around 2010 British gunman, Raoul Moat. The story was false.