The Daily Mirror has retracted a story that claimed 22-year-old UKIP candidate Alex Wood was photographed making a Nazi salute. What actually happened was that Wood was sitting in the pub trying to grab a mobile phone from the person sitting in front of him. The resulting photo of the “reach” makes it appear as if Wood is delivering the notorious straight-arm salute. The Mirror wrote:
We now accept that these allegations were wrong and there is no reason to believe that Mr Wood is a racist or a Nazi. The photograph, one of a series of photographs appearing on his Facebook page, was taken out of context. Mr Wood was reaching out to stop a friend taking a photo on a mobile phone. The comments on Facebook purportedly made by Mr Wood were not made by him and the police have confirmed that they were not made by Mr Wood.
The newspaper also published another image from Facebook that showed Wood standing in front of a Union Jack with a knife in his teeth, and reported that racist comments appeared beneath the photos. The Mirror retracted those claims, too, saying police had determined that Wood had not written those comments.
Wood denied the salute at the time, telling the BBC, “The supposed wrong hand salute is actually me grabbing after a friend’s phone.” Here is the image:
UKIP leader Nigel Farage backed Wood, also. In a blog post for the Huffington Post today, he wrote “I nearly had kittens when I first saw this.”
“I’ve looked carefully into this and spoken to Alex, and I believe him when he says that he was angrily trying to take a camera off his girlfriend who was annoyingly taking pictures of him in the pub imitating a pot plant,” Farage writes.
“These things happen,” he added. “I should know!”
Wood also said that the second image was a “Halloween prank” and that his Facebook page had been hacked by someone who had made racist comments.
“Racist, homophobic, fascist views absolutely disgust me,” Wood told the BBC. “I’m completely against such views so these statements are not mine.”
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