9 years ago, Neil Shepherd, his two children Christi aged 7 and Bobby aged 6 and his then partner Ruth (now his wife) went on holiday to Corfu which they booked through Thomas Cook. They were entitled to expect that the hotel was safe to stay in but in this they were mistaken. A defective gas water heater spewed carbon monoxide into their chalet and killed Christi and Bobby whilst rendering Neil and Ruth unconscious. Thomas Cook denied all liability, blamed the hotel and made no apology. Last week an inquest jury in Yorkshire found that the children had been unlawfully killed and that Thomas Cook had breached its duty of care. Most of its witnesses, including its former CEO, asserted their legal right not to answer questions but its new CEO, Peter Fankhauser, told the court ‘I feel incredibly sorry for the family – incredibly sorry. But I don’t have to apologise….I feel so thoroughly, from the deepest of my heart, sorry but there’s no need to apologise because there was no wrongdoing by Thomas Cook.’
There was an immediate public backlash which intensified when it emerged that whilst the parents each got compensation of £350K, Thomas Cook got £1.5m for legal fees incurred when defending Greek manslaughter charges (its employees were acquitted), the cost of sending “special media advisers” to Greece, the time spent on the matter by its employees and lost revenue. Its insurers pocketed another £1.5m. Finding itself waist-high in shit, Thomas Cook then announced that it would donate £1.5m to UNICEF, a decision it took without consulting the family. It also showed the press a letter apologising to the parents although the parents had yet to receive it and Fankhauser had refused to apologise at the inquest. Thomas Cook was now neck-high in shit, at which point Fankhauser decided to act before the ordure reached eyelevel. On Wednesday he said “As a father myself, I really can only express my extreme sorrow. It is also clear to me that in the past 9 years the company could have handled its relationship with the family better and treated them with more respect and for that I am sorry.” He also promised to apologise directly to the parents which he did in a private meeting on Thursday. Thomas Cook will also donate loads more money to various charities chosen by Neil and his former wife Sharon Wood.
Here’s the thing. Thomas Cook’s behaviour stinks like a rancid fish. It banked its compensation whilst the parents had to remortgage their homes to pay their own flights and accommodation to attend the court proceedings in Greece and fight for compensation. They only got legal aid for the inquest after lobbying David Cameron. Thomas Cook, which took £8.6 BILLION in bookings last year, even took legal action to try and stop the inquest. It has now changed its tune because it is facing a shitstorm that threatens both its share price and profits (£75m has been wiped off its value this week alone). A plague on Mr Fankhauser and on Thomas Cook and on its lawyers and on its PR advisers (great job, guys) for their greed, arrogance and insensitivity. WTF hopes that no one gives Thomas Cook another penny of their hard earned cash ever again.
Rant over. Let’s consider a really terrible week in fashion errors.
She’s back! Readers’ favourite Nancy Dell’Olio makes her long awaited return to the blog, wearing what appears to be an artfully ruched bin liner.
WTF is all for recycling, especially if we could turn Nancy into somebody or something else. Actually, the dress is the least of it. It is the Worzel Gummidge hair, the horrible handbag, the ridiculous sub-Angelina pose and the expression of a constipated sufferer straining to achieve evacuation.
We move to a couple of nasties from the British Soap Awards. This is Hollyoaks’ Jessica Ellis wearing something slithery and shiny with Milly J shoes.
This is part little Red Riding Hood, part Snow White’s Wicked Stepmother and entirely shite. And those shoes! This is one of those fairy tales that gives you nightmares.
And there was Tisha Merry from Coronation Street wearing La Moda Avenue.
For £430 you too can own a shocking pink shower curtain with flamingo frou-frou flounce. What are you waiting for? By the way, it looks as if Tisha should have taken a size up.
To Cannes where nonsense continues on the Red Carpet. Here is a prime example in the skinny shape of Russian model Natasha Poly wearing Atelier Versace.
This not couture, this is taking the piss. It is as if Natalia had been sunbathing under a posh beach umbrella when it collapsed on top of her. By the time she was freed, she could only use it as a skirt, slip on her stilettos and rush to the Red Carpet. And there are hazards in doing that, Readers, because this could happen….
Paris is as per usual, all hair, peekaboo and Minge Moment in a dress like a badly laddered stocking. WTF is far more interested in Sun who looks like a cross-dressing Tinkerbell about to do a tap-dance.
Also taking up valuable oxygen on the Red Carpet was L’Oréal Ambassador Eva Longoria wearing Gabriela Cadena.
Here is your starter for 10. What was the last role Eva had in anything, let alone anything good? Anyway, here she is in a dove-grey creation with bat-tits and lots of side pube. Awful.
And now we have actress Diane Kruger at the Cannes amFAR Gala wearing Chanel.
Like a hedgehog with ribbons. Coco must be turning in her grave.
Meet Bollywood star and another L’Oréal Ambassador Sonam Kapoor wearing Elie Saab.
Good grief. She appears to be standing in a haystack.
The Billboard Music Awards are always a rich source of ghastliness and this year was no exception. We begin with Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth.
David is clad in a very lairy 3-piece suit, trainers and a flat cap worn by countrypersons going ferreting. He has teamed them with a vest made out of armour. Was he expecting someone to take a potshot at him? Frankly, it should have been aimed at the stylist.
You just knew as you know night follows day that Jennifer Lopez was going to feature, didn’t you? Here she is wearing Charbel Zoe.
Oh here we bloody go again. Last time we saw J-Lo was a fortnight ago at the Met Ball where her arse was hanging out. This time, we are getting a full view of her torso. Why doesn’t she just stroll out starkers on the Red Carpet and be done with it? And then go back to wearing proper clothes.
Another perennial offender flashing her torso and arse at the cameras. I refer of course to singer Rita Ora wearing Fausto Puglisi.
One word. Trashy. Next…..
Finally we encounter Cameroonian-Nigerian singer Dencia. This one is an absolute and total shocker.
WTF likes a laugh as much as the next person but this has gone beyond a joke, turned left and kept on travelling past insanity. Decnia seems to have been caught up in a Smarties explosion.
WTF deplores the smiley face motif and particularly the large mouth and beardy bit over the Minge area. WTF double-deplores the giant ski goggles and the ill-matched shoes. Fuck it, she deplores the whole thing. And whilst she is deploring things, she also deplores the fact that Dencia has made millions out of a skin whitening cream for Africans called Whitenicious.
This week’s It’s Got To Go is from WTF is Islington who yet again is enraged by her failure to get a ticket for the Cup Final to watch her beloved Arsenal play Aston Villa next week. It appears that having a season ticket and living locally for 30+ years counts for fuck all with AFC whilst Johnny-Come-Latelys who have had a season ticket for all of 10 minutes triumph in the ballot. What happened to loyalty?
OK Readers that’s your lot for this week. There were loads of comments last week which almost compensated for not having a Cup Final ticket. Keep the comments coming in and suggestions for It’s Got To Go and let us meet again next Friday. Be good x