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School CP - November 2004
Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland, 23 November 2004
School fury over beatings 'slur' forces McFadden video recall
By John Unger
A row over Brian McFadden's latest single took a new turn yesterday when the former Westlife singer's record company withdrew the song's promotional video.
The lyrics of the song, 'Irish Son', refer to Brian being beaten at school and the video featured St Fintan's High School in Sutton, Co Dublin.
But the former Westlife star did not attend St Fintan's and its angry headmaster secured the withdrawal after complaining to McFadden's record company, Sony BMG.
The song had already caused controversy because of its claims that Brian was beaten at school by Christian Brothers.
Corporal punishment was banned in schools in 1982 - some years before 24-year-old McFadden entered any educational establishment.
This led to accusations from the Christian Brothers that the singer was a naughty boy who might indeed deserve six of the best for his poor understanding of history.
Yesterday, Sony BMG confirmed it had to pull the promotional shoot after St Fintan's complained that McFadden had attended another school.
Richard Fogarty, headmaster of St Fintan's High School, claimed the school was clearly identified in the video even though McFadden was never a pupil there.
Solicitors acting on behalf of the school contacted Sony BMG to have the video pulled from television screens and the record company agreed to the move.
Mr Fogarty claimed the video suggested McFadden attended the school and was abused by teachers. "'Irish Son' suggests that he attended our school as a boy, and that he was regularly beaten and kept in 'cell block' conditions at the school, so much so that his mind was warped," a statement by Mr Fogarty said.
"The school has always treated its pupils with respect."
Sony BMG has sent replacement videos to television stations. The record label claimed it understood the school name was fictitious until it received the objection.
Sony BMG also said the reference to the school was unintentional and coincidental.
Max Clifford, the singer's publicist, said McFadden had discussed allegations of abuse with him.
"I can only tell you this is what Brian experienced. I have talked to Brian on the subject and this is something that he has very vivid memories of," Mr Clifford said.
"Hence his words and descriptions of what happened to him. He's talking about what the Christian Brothers did to him. The message that I would have thought is important is about the Christian Brothers."
Source: Irish Independent
© 2004 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd
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