Paul Sheehan Suspended… Which Means He Somehow Still Has a Job


Paul Sheehan has gone on holidays, Sydney Morning Herald Editor Darren Goodsir confirmed this afternoon. The race-hate columnist has not been fired. Instead, he will “stand aside from his duties until further notice”. Whatever that turns out to mean.

“The horrifying untold story of Louise” has turned out to be mostly horrifying for Fairfax Media. It was either a first class fig-leaf, or entirely a figment of ‘Louise’s’ imagination. We’re talking, of course, about Paul Sheehan’s February 22 front-page screamer, which purported to tell the story of an unbelievably horrific pack rape.

A story so phoney, mind you, that even the merry racists at Reclaim Australia couldn’t stomach it. ‘Louise’ told her tale at a Reclaim rally in 2014, where she demanded an end to “Shara law” and “hala certification”. According to reporting from Media Watch, organisers later told her she wasn’t welcome to speak again, because they don’t believe her stories.

But Sheehan claims not to have discovered her blatant racism. In his degenerate ‘report’, which sold the story as true without even basic fact-checking, Sheehan thoughtlessly rubbished the New South Wales Police Force. In fact he alleged that they had “contributed” to an uncertain wave of inner city gang rapes, which Sheehan asserts occurred in Sydney between 2001 and 2006, by “pretending it did not exist”.

He alleged the police had ignored claims from ‘Louise’ that she was horrifically brutalised, gang raped by six so-called ‘Middle Eastern raping c*nts’. According to Sheehan’s report, Louise had teeth knocked out, and a knife held to her throat. She choked on blood, and was sodomised.

Ultimately, Sheehan uncritically said, ‘Louise’ suffered 79 fractures in total. She ended up with a torn top lip, and a broken jaw, ankle, vertebrae, face, nose, eye orbit, mandible, and hands. Oh, and two fractured knees.

Which finally prompted this tweet from Herald editor-in-chief, Darren Goodsir.

“That was the end of my nursing careers,” Louise reportedly said. It’s pretty obvious it should’ve been the end of Sheehan’s, too. This afternoon Goodsir suggested that “the Herald’s reputation is founded on the trust our readers give us to provide fair, balanced and independent journalism”.

That’s an interesting claim to make on the occasion of his second apology for an overtly racist story, which was published under his watch on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

“It is critical that the editorial integrity of the Herald is maintained,” Goodsir said. A good start towards that end, we think, would be firing Sheehan to make sure he never disgraces the Herald’s front page again.

For now though, the critical question left unanswered by Goodsir’s ‘unreserved’ apology, is whether Sheehan is also enjoying all the perks of his salary plus conditions, while being put out to pasture, and when Fairfax are planning to allow him to return. We’re waiting on an answer from Goodsir, whom we emailed this afternoon.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.