UK

MailOnline Uses Picture Of Hawksmoor Beef To Illustrate Dubious 'Human Flesh' Restaurant Tale

19/05/2015 09:58 BST | Updated 19/05/2015 14:59 BST

Illustrating a dubious tale of a restaurant serving human flesh would be a tricky matter for most media outlets.

But the MailOnline could well be in hot water after it apparently tackled this task by using a picture of beef from high-end steak steak restaurant The Hawksmoor.

The matter was raised by owner Will Beckett on Twitter, who asked:

“Dear @MailOnline, why are you using a photo of our steak to illustrate ‘Nigerian restaurant sells human meat’? Legal?”

Beckett confirmed to Huffington Post UK the image was taken by a photographer on behalf of the restaurant and indeed it is also used on its LinkedIn profile.

He added: "Someone sent me through the link asking if this was our steak and yes, it is. It's a sliced chateaubriand from Yorkshire Longhorn cattle that we serve at all our restaurants, which have won numerous 'best steak in the UK' awards.

"For clarity's sake we don't serve human flesh, there are no severed heads in our kitchen, and we've never even been nominated for 'Nigeria's Best Restaurant' or 'Cannibal Menu of the Year'.

"Whereas the Mail's main complaint appears to be that the human flesh was expensive I can also assure you that while our steak isn't cheap it is excellent value."

hawksmoor beef

The MailOnline article

hawksmoor beef

Indeed the MailOnline itself has used the exact same image in the past in a column by Tom Parker Bowles abut Hawksmoor Seven Dials entitled: “Beef this good? It’s a rare beast”.

The current MailOnline story the image has resurfaced in is a version of a somewhat suspect tale, which periodically appears on the web and details a restaurant in Anambra, Nigeria, which was reportedly shut down after the discovery of bags containing human heads in the kitchen.

tom parker bowles column

The MailOnline used the same image to illustrate a column by Tom Parker Bowles in 2011 extolling the virtues of Hawksmoor Seven Dials

The discovery – this month reported by the BBC Swahili service – was apparently made by a priest who dined at the eatery and was shocked at the steep prices.

The same tale did the rounds last year – also with quotes from a similarly financially dismayed pastor.

The MailOnline has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile the sourcing of beef for Hawksmoor is detailed on its website - with no mention of human flesh or Nigeria.

It states: "Before trying to open the UK's best steak restaurant we travelled the world in search of the perfect steak, from Kobe in Japan to Argentina's Pampas by way of Italy, Australia and Texas. And our verdict? That the best steaks come from carefully reared native cattle breeds right here in Britain."

UPDATE: BBC Swahili has since removed the article and the MailOnline has done the same.

A MailOnline spokesman told HuffPost UK: "The story originally appeared on BBC Swahili but today they made clear that it was false, apologised for any 'damage or inconvenience' and removed the piece from their website. As soon as we were made aware of that we removed our own story, and published a correction for our readers.The picture of the steak was clearly marked as a ‘file photo of beef steak’ when originally published and had already been removed after Hawksmoor’s concerns were brought to our attention”.

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