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'Bullying press' a threat to free speech – writer

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

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Award-winning West novelist Hilary Mantel has accused the press of compromising freedom of speech by adopting a bullying mentality.

The writer who found herself at the centre of a media storm last February when she said the Duchess of Cambridge was being portrayed as "a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung", said she felt bullied by the experience.

Mantel was speaking during the Royal Shakespeare Company's press conference about the transfer of its adaptations of her novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, to London.

The writer claimed her statement was wrongly reported as if it was her own opinion of the duchess rather than a description of the way Kate Middleton was treated.

"It felt that there was an attempt to bully me...," reported the Times. "There's almost an attempt to intimidate. I feel that public life and freedom of speech is compromised at the moment by a conformist and trivialising culture, and I thought that this was an example of it.

"The people who misrepresented my words knew exactly what they were doing. There was no innocence there."

Asked if she felt Twitter and other social media encouraged such behaviour, she replied: "Yes. Everyone feels they must have an instant reaction to everything, that they must speak for the sake of speaking, and that must be resisted, I think."

She added: "You can't be knocked off your perch by something like this. When the dust settles, I hope that people understand that I'm not a rent-a-quote — I'm not someone who is out to hit the headlines and I think before I speak."

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  • StanStill  |  March 07 2014, 6:42AM

    Get some backbone Hilary, you poor little girl, was you bullied by the Press. Oh diddums. Get a life woman, you love to criticise others, but don't like it when you get it.