Updated: May 10
This article addresses the key points of the Daily Mail article published against Chairman Paul Stephen Waugh and Lighthouse International Group on Monday 9th May.
Intention Of Our Response
Here we will bring the missing balance and truth that Tom Kelly, Adam Luck and the Daily Mail continue to disregard in their highly unprofessional and sloppy reporting; to the point where even they are contradicting themselves, revealing a blatant intention and desire to defame Paul Waugh and Lighthouse International Group, regardless of facts.
This article comes following the recent email from Tom Kelly at the Daily Mail to Paul Waugh on the 28th April which Paul Waugh responded to immediately on YouTube and which you can read about and watch here. You can also read here about Mr Waugh’s invitation to Mr Kelly - apparently an ‘investigative’ journalist, to meet with Mr Waugh and his family at his family home (or the offer to visit Mr Kelly at his office) . At no point has Mr Kelly or Mr Luck ever met with or even spoken to Paul Waugh personally and we are still waiting to hear from them in relation to this invitation.
The Medium Is The Message And The Daily Mail Is A Publication Without Credibility
The Daily Mail is a paper notorious for producing poorly investigated (if at all), sensationalist articles designed for ‘clickbait’ in our modern society of short attention spans and fickle readership.
Even Wikipedia, the online fact-based encyclopaedia, does not acknowledge the Daily Mail as a source of credible information:
"I think what [the Daily Mail has] done brilliantly in this ad funded world (is) they've mastered the art of click bait, they've mastered the art of hyped up headlines, they've also mastered the art of, I'm sad to say, of running stories that simply aren't true. And that's why Wikipedia decided not to accept them as a source anymore. It's very problematic, they get very upset when we say this, but it's just fact." ~ Wikipedia Co-Founder, Jimmy Wales.
What the Daily Mail will write is regardless of, and often in complete ignorance of, the truth in order to sell papers, without care for the lives and businesses they may damage and even ruin as a result. It is time for those that recognise and want to fight the abuse of the press and every person who has been unjustly defamed and damaged by this form of ‘journalism’ to stand up against the tyranny that these elements of the press can wield and we call for everyone who agrees to come and join us in this.
Here is a Guardian article by Jasper Jackson in 2017 about the Daily Mail which quoted The Wikimedia Foundation as saying:
“Based on the requests for comments section [on the reliable sources noticeboard], volunteer editors on English Wikipedia have come to a consensus that the Daily Mail is ‘generally unreliable and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist’.”
“This means that the Daily Mail will generally not be referenced as a ‘reliable source’ on English Wikipedia, and volunteer editors are encouraged to change existing citations to the Daily Mail to another source deemed reliable by the community. This is consistent with how Wikipedia editors evaluate and use media outlets in general – with common sense and caution.”
Daily Mail 9th May 2022, Lighthouse Response:
In the article there are 3 bullet points highlighted as a summary of the piece, which we will address up front.
Key Points & Response
“Paul Waugh was branded ‘disgraceful’ for illegally naming child sex abuse victim”
“He [Paul Waugh] shared private details of the woman’s childhood trauma in YouTube videos”
“The films were widely shared on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for almost 24hrs”
At the time of making the videos published by Lighthouse on 21st April 2022, it was genuinely believed by Paul Waugh that permission had been given for him to speak about the situation openly by the person this article refers to.
As part of the verbal permission given to Paul Waugh at the time, the person in question stated that she even, “wanted this to come out” and she had never retracted this permission, verbally or in writing, prior to the Daily Mail publishing their article or since.
However, while her permission had been given verbally and expressly without reservation - which is held on record by both parties - we openly acknowledge the fact that it was not given in writing in line with the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 and so needed to be retracted. This was acted on within 24 hours with action being taken to remove the recording from the internet straight away, to be replaced by an edited version with the relevant information removed. This was immediately effective for any and all places the videos had been shared.
Main Article Points & Responses:
The remainder of this article will proceed to highlight and address some further points we feel need to be responded to, along with a conclusive summary regarding this situation.
Main Article Point 1:
“In videos posted on YouTube, Mr Waugh, who runs Lighthouse International Group, called the woman’s behaviour ‘narcissistic’ and ‘toxic’ and even identified the country she is living in”
A) In relation to Mr Waugh’s comments about this person’s ‘narcissistic’ and ‘toxic’ behaviour, these relate to a very lengthy private conversation Paul Waugh had with this person about actions she was taking at the time which were damaging other vulnerable people within Lighthouse.
The conversation in question took place long before the extent of her experiences of childhood sexual abuse were known to Paul Waugh and afterwards this person in fact recognised and admitted to Paul Waugh herself that her behaviour was indeed highly destructive and later profusely apologised to Paul Waugh for how she had been damaging to others.
The fact someone has been a victim of abuse in the past, while tragic and terrible, does not exclude them from being capable themselves of destructive behaviour. While it can explain and help us understand why a person might themselves do something damaging and destructive, it cannot absolve them from the responsibility of that and accountability when that is due.
Paul Waugh also and unreservedly apologised for his part in this interaction. See details in our response to the article’s second main point below.
B) In relation to Mr Waugh having revealed or ‘identified’ the person their article refers to country of residence, this is not true. Neither Mr Waugh nor anyone in Lighthouse has had or received knowledge of the whereabouts of this person since they left the company in 2021.
It is true that a particular country was mentioned in conversation as part of the video published, but that was done in the context of it being a place she had long spoken to us about going to one day and how Lighthouse International Group had been long supporting her in this to get away, not from Lighthouse International Group as their article claimed, but to get away from her abusers.
If this is now her country of residence that is not what was stated and if anything, the Daily Mail are only making that known by printing that this is the fact.
Main Article Point 2:
“Mr Waugh’s actions came after the Daily Mail revealed how he had bombarded the woman with ‘terrifying’ verbal abuse when she raised concerns about Lighthouse while still a member.”
The fact is that this was a highly charged situation and Paul Waugh unreservedly and profusely apologised to the person right after the event itself. He also went to great extent to make things right with this person who said in return that her relevant actions had been deserving of his rebuke. She also admitted, along with this, that she had been acting in a manner that was indeed damaging other individuals within Lighthouse International Group at the time and was greatly undermining the positive work being done to support them as part of her apology.
So this is a situation that had been totally and amicably resolved between Paul Waugh and the person in question at the time. Yet this is now being dragged up, twisted and used out of context in an attempt to destroy Paul Waugh’s character and personal reputation, along with the reputation of Lighthouse International Group as a whole.
The alleged ‘terrifying verbal abuse’ mentioned, of which a snippet recording formed part of the first Daily Mail article on 20th April, has been taken grossly out of context and is being used manipulatively to defame Paul Waugh and Lighthouse International Group. There are many instances in any individual’s lives where, if something they said or did were isolated and taken out of context, it would paint a very derogatory and defamatory picture of them. The same ought not be any different for Paul Waugh and this is the balance the Daily Mail is completely missing. It has made no efforts to address because to do so simply would not sell any papers because the desired impact would be completely taken out of their piece.
Main Article Point 3:
“In his series of YouTube tirades posted after our exposé ran, Mr Waugh also repeatedly threatened to take action against other ex-Lighthouse members who had alleged the group abused, exploited and fleeced vulnerable victims. He warned them: ‘We’re coming for you.’”
Paul Waugh and the partners of Lighthouse International Group have been subject to over a year of online harassment and defamation by a few individuals conducting a coordinated online smear campaign. This is despite every reasonable request to settle these matters in a civil and mature manner. And now they have taken this campaign and their falsehoods to the Daily Mail, a paper more than willing to capitalise on baseless accusations to help sell its papers.
Warning people that there will be legal consequences to their actions is not making threats, it is a fair and proper part of the legal process. Where individuals have persisted for many months in spreading lies and distorting the truth about Paul Waugh and the rest of the Lighthouse International Group partnership, in spite of such warnings and showing clear intent to destroy reputations and livelihoods, they will be held accountable. This accountability will include legal consequences for libel and defamation as well as harassment, several cases of which are currently in process with the police and one police warning had already been issued.
It is perfectly within Paul Waugh’s and Lighthouse International Group’s legal rights to defend themselves against false and deliberately damaging accusations, especially when every reasonable attempt to find a much more amicable solution has been rejected. These accusations can and will be categorically disproved in court when the full context and evidence can be given before a judge.
Main Article Point 4:
“The former Lighthouse member who was abused as a child described Mr Waugh as ‘disgraceful’ for revealing her name and ‘deeply private’ details she had given in confidence. She said: ‘These people are bullies and needed to be exposed to save others from what is wholly unacceptable, horrendous treatment that I would not want anyone else to experience.’”
As already mentioned above in response to the first and second main points of the article, the experience had been resolved between her and Mr Waugh and an understanding reached between them that responsibility had been taken on both sides and this was water under the bridge. For this to be brought up again now, despite this being the case and it being used as a weapon to attack and beat Paul Waugh and Lighthouse International Group is just evidence of a destructive intent and a misrepresentation of the truth. This is something we are 100% confident that legal proceedings will make clear in due course.
Summary: A Clear Intent to Maliciously Defame and Destroy
Mr Waugh’s mistake in this situation was honestly made in the process of him defending the wellbeing and livelihoods of his family, his children and the partners of Lighthouse International Group. Once realised, he acted swiftly to rectify any wrongdoing, instructing for any and all parts of offending material to be taken down from public access, which they were immediately and within 24 hours of them being released.
Let us not forget that Paul Waugh and all partners of Lighthouse International Group are human beings who have been persecuted and attacked through the continual and unrelenting spreading of lies and defamation online for over a year. We do not excuse the fact that such a mistake was made in sharing personal information that ought not to have been shared, but neither does it give credence to the accusations being made against Lighthouse International Group. Many of these accusations are from people who do not know and have not met or spoken to anyone still involved at Lighthouse personally, whatsoever.
The truth is the truth and it will eventually come to light for all.
Paul Waugh, as the Daily Mail states, is a father of two children who are both thriving, healthy and emotionally intelligent people. He is fiercely protective of his family and anyone innocent, fragile or vulnerable being persecuted or harmed as any father would be. Paul Waugh is not someone to mince words or avoid being candid when this is the case either, such that anyone being attacked and persecuted themselves I’m sure would gladly welcome him or someone just like him to fight in their corner for them.
Paul Waugh is an incredibly sensitive and caring individual who has persistently extended himself for and made a great difference to the lives of many many people. These facts are wholly omitted and ignored both by those telling lies and twisting truths in order to falsely accuse him of things he has not done; all due to financial disputes and selfish interest. The Daily Mail gave no mention at all to the many personal testimonies shared with Tom Kelly as part of our extensive response to his first request for comments. These testimonies were by those Paul Waugh has positively and dramatically helped to improve and benefit the lives of. To have mentioned and to have printed these would have painted a VERY different picture, which I can also personally attest to! You can read some of these examples from Mel Francis, Jack Comer and Diane Cubitt.
The points in this article and its predecessor are sensationalising distractions away from the real issue at hand here that the Daily Mail and those pushing for this to go to print desperately want to hide because it does not suit or help their cause and that is the simple issue of money!
As this very article itself had to point out, the person in question here did send Paul an email and ‘politely requested a refund’. However the fact she did so does not mean she had any grounds to be given a refund and nor is it recognised that, as a small and still emerging business, to grant such a refund would be to set a precedent such that it would make any future business entirely impossible. This is because it would mean anyone asking for such a refund in future would have to be granted one because of this precedent, regardless of having already received value equating to or even in excess of the value they invested. No business could start out or operate on this basis and with such a precedent being set, as any respectable business owner would have to agree with.
Another point persistently ignored is the fact that Paul Waugh has given every opportunity for this situation to be resolved privately. He has given an open invitation for the person referenced in this article and all others with any financial dispute or any other issues against him or Lighthouse International Group to meet in person and discuss and resolve this with them. However, instead of taking this up, they have wholly rejected this and taken to Reddit and the Daily Mail to spread their lies and disinformation in retribution for not being allowed, unreservedly, to walk away on a whim after years of involvement and support and still retain every penny they ever spent with no just reason. No one would expect to be able to fully expend and use the value of any product or service and then still be eligible for a full refund at the end, unless they could prove malpractice which they would have to do legally in court. This is why those involved here have taken to Reddit and the Daily Mail rather than the courts because in court the full facts and information would have to be revealed rather than presenting one side only.
Neither Paul Waugh nor anyone at Lighthouse International Group are impervious to making mistakes and we would be the first to recognise and express where our faults and flaws legitimately are and make amends for these. 'Legitimately' meaning what they genuinely and actually are, not what people invent them to be in order to suit their purposes and agenda. We fully admit that an honest mistake was made here and that has been recognised and made right which is why the offending material was so quickly taken down.
As a final example of the bias and prejudice involved here, the image included of a house in this latest article in the Daily Mail says in the caption provided, that this is a picture of “A property Mr Waugh uses when he is not in his country estate”. However, this is the SAME property the Daily Mail THEMSELVES printed and reported as being Paul Waugh’s “£2 million home” on the 20th April. How can the same property be two different places for two different purposes? The ridiculousness of this contradiction is compounded by stating that Paul Waugh is a life coach who charges up to £100 per hour when he previously confirmed his time is worth up to £5,000 per hour. Basically Mr Kelly and Mr Luck are saying that Paul Waugh now has two country estates and earns 50 times less than stated!
These are small facts that could go overlooked but it absolutely proves that both articles have been sloppily written with a deliberate intention to defame and paint a negative picture of Paul Waugh and Lighthouse International Group, which will form part of the libel case Lighthouse now brings against them and others.