Jeremy Vine ‘disgusted’ with social media companies over stalker videos

Entertainment

TV and radio host Jeremy Vine has said he is “amazed at how hard it is” to get social media companies to act in response to his jailed stalker’s videos.

Former BBC local radio presenter Alex Belfield, 42, was sentenced to five years and 26 weeks last Friday after being found guilty of waging a campaign against a number of figures from the broadcasting world.

Jurors accepted he caused serious alarm or distress to two victims and found him guilty of “simple” stalking in relation to Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.

Ex-BBC presenter Alex Belfield arrives at Nottingham Crown Court
Image:
Alex Belfield

Asked about the response of the social media companies, Mr Vine told BBC Two’s Newsnight: “I am amazed at how hard it is to get them to realise.

“So we went to YouTube and said: ‘Come on, what is going on with this guy? You can’t allow him to just defame’.

“And then we said: ‘OK, there is a libel action now based on that video, that video, that video’ – they still won’t take them down.

“Eventually I have to go through a lawyer, they take down individual videos, and then when he is convicted they demonetise him. But half the videos about me are still up there.

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“His technique was to say ‘copy and share’ so you will have someone who takes his video in Moscow and hosts it. It will always be out there, I have got to live with that.

“But the fact that YouTube hosts this stuff, they have no responsibility. They don’t care. They don’t give a toss. Sorry for my language but I am disgusted by their lack of values.

“And Twitter as well. He is in prison and he has still got a Twitter account. What the hell is that about? I don’t understand it.”

Mr Vine said that Belfield had put out a video “saying he is going to be right back up and running”.

Mr Vine also said both the victims and their friends had flagged Belfield’s content in a way that was both “continuous” and “constant” and one person even went to YouTube’s headquarters to ask its reception if anything could be done.

“It’s not a mystery to them which are the problem accounts and they just need to take them down,” he said.

Twitter declined to comment, and YouTube has also been contacted for comment.

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