Nazi Jibes, Goose-Steps and Foul Abuse: Desmond Addresses `Telegraph' Chiefs
Ciar Byrne Media Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
THE NEW-FOUND support of the Daily Express no longer looks like such a great coup for the Tory leader, Michael Howard, after the newspaper's owner, Richard Desmond, launched an expletive-strewn verbal attack on executives from a rival newspaper group.
Mr Desmond embarked on the foul-mouthed tirade at a meeting between Express executives and directors from the Telegraph Group to discuss their jointly- owned newspaper printing plant at Westferry in London's Docklands.
The Express Newspapers chief hit out at the Telegraph chief executive, Jeremy Deedes, calling him a "miserable piece of shit" in an onslaught that lasted several minutes.
Mr Desmond, who recently dropped out of the race to buy the Telegraph titles, also turned his fire on a German newspaper group still in the bidding, branding them "Nazis".
After several minutes of the onslaught, Mr Deedes and his colleagues decided to leave the meeting, prompting Mr Desmond to start goose-stepping, much like Basil Fawlty, and tell Express executives to sing the Nazi anthem "Deutschland uber Alles" and perform Sieg Heil salutes.
"It was a very, very unpleasant occasion," said Mr Deedes, who came out of retirement last month to resume his role as Telegraph chief executive after leaving the company in 2003.
"There's no point in trying to conduct a meaningful meeting with somebody who's in that frame of mind. The sheer venom of the racism that came out of his mouth was astonishing."
The Express boss launched into the extraordinary outburst before the monthly finance meeting even began, greeting Mr Deedes and his colleagues by saying "Guten Morgen".
Mr Deedes responded with a joke about Mr Desmond's decision to switch his paper's support to the Conservative Party. "I pulled his leg a bit about having seen the light with the Tories," Mr Deedes said. "Then he said to me: `How do you feel about being owned by fucking Nazis?' …
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Publication information: Article title: Nazi Jibes, Goose-Steps and Foul Abuse: Desmond Addresses `Telegraph' Chiefs. Contributors: Ciar Byrne Media Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 23, 2004. Page number: 5. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.