Ian 'H' Watkins - Lawyers For Steps Star Ian 'H' Watkins Take Aim At Google Bosses Over Paedophile Image Mix-up
Lawyers for British singer Ian 'h' Watkins are demanding Google bosses take immediate action to stop photos of the former Steps star from appearing in search engine results for articles related to his shamed rock namesake, Ian Watkins.
The ex-Lostprophets frontman was sentenced to 35 years in prison this week (18Dec13) after pleading guilty to a string of sick child sex offences, including the attempted rape of a baby.
During the trial proceedings, pop star Ian 'H' Watkins found himself subjected to vile abuse online by outraged members of the public, who had confused him with the disgraced musician since they share the same name, are both from Wales, and are of similar age.
The similarities even caused editors at one news outlet, America's Eonline.com, to mistakenly use an image of the gay star to illustrate a story about the convicted criminal.
The Tragedy hitmaker won a formal apology from E! network executives in London's High Court on Thursday (19Dec13), and now he has sent lawyers after Google chiefs to prevent his likeness popping up in website searches about the jailed Watkins.
He took to Twitter.com on Thursday to express his anger and shared a screen grab of one search for "Ian Watkins", which brought up an article about the paedophile by reporters at another U.S. outlet, CBS News, alongside the innocent star's picture.
Alongside the image, he wrote, "Sort This Out @CBSNews @google !!!! I am very upset ... Again !!!"
His attorneys have now contacted Google U.K. bosses over the issue, and in a statement issued on Friday (20Dec13), his spokesperson Ashley Vallance writes, "Ian is astonished that in spite of yesterday's public apology from E! Online, Google have now created far more damaging and far reaching false and defamatory coverage linking our client to the appalling crimes of the Lostprophets singer."
A representative for Google U.K. has confirmed they are investigating the problem, saying, "For some specific searches Ian H Watkins' picture is appearing in our results because he is relevant to the story having received a court apology. We are looking into the issue he raises."