Stuart Higgins

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Stuart Higgins (born c.1956)[1] is a British public relations consultant and former newspaper editor.

In 1972 Higgins left school in Kingswood, on the outskirts of Bristol, and began his career as a reporter at the South West News, an agency founded by Roland Arblaster.[1][2]He began working for The Sun in 1979 as their West Country reporter.[3] He was arrested in 1982 by the police after being found with a Sun photographer "testing security" at Highgrove House, home of Charles, Prince of Wales.[1]

At one point, Kelvin MacKenzie printed Higgins' direct phone number in The Sun, billed him as the "human sponge" and asked readers to call Higgins to "get things off their chest".[4][1] In 1994, Higgins succeeded MacKenzie as editor of the newspaper.[5] In 1996, Higgins wrote a front page story about an intimate video purporting to feature Diana, Princess of Wales with James Hewitt. The video turned out to be a hoax.[1]

Higgins left The Sun in June 1998.[3] On 11 November 2003, Labour MP Clive Soley, using parliamentary privilege, alleged that News International had paid £500,000 'hush money' to a female employee who had accused Higgins of sexual harassment during his time at The Sun.[6] Soley also accused Rebekah Wade (now Brooks), then the newspaper's editor, of writing a threatening letter to the MP in order to discourage him from researching the issue.[7][5]

Higgins subsequently set up his own public relations company,[5] but sold the company in 2007.[8] In February 2013, it was reported that Higgins was in Pretoria, South Africa assisting athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in dealing with the press.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Andy Beckett "Soaking up the Sun", The Independent on Sunday, 13 October 1996
  2. ^ In his Leveson submission, see below, Higgins says he joined Arblasters of Bristol "around 1976",
  3. ^ a b "Leveson Inquiry: Response from Stuart Higgins", Leveson submission, January 2012
  4. ^ a b Media Monkey "Oscar Pistorius: can the 'Human Sponge' help handle the crisis?" guardian.co.uk, 15 February 2013
  5. ^ a b c David Hencke The case of the Sun editor, sexual harassment and a £500,000 payoff", The Guardian, 12 November 2003
  6. ^ Hansard, Col.188, 11 November 2003
  7. ^ Tom Leonard and Andrew Sparrow "MP accuses Sun of covering up office sex case", telegraph.co.uk, 12 November 2003
  8. ^ Chris Tryhorn "Higgins' PR firm bought by Fast Track", guardian.co.uk, 11 December 2007
Media offices
Preceded by
Martin Dunn
Deputy Editor of The Sun
1990–1993
Succeeded by
Neil Wallis
Preceded by
Patsy Chapman
Editor of the News of the World
1993–1994
Succeeded by
Piers Morgan
Preceded by
Kelvin MacKenzie
Editor of The Sun
1994–1998
Succeeded by
David Yelland