From time to time we have to suspend people from using the Gazette comments section - the response at times is vitriolic

By Pepper Parr

November 4th, 2021



The Gazette suspended the privilege David Barker had to comment in the Gazette’s Comments section.

We did so late in September.  There are yards and yards of paper with comments and the back and fourth email from Barker.

A day or so after suspending Barker I received the following:

From: david barker []
Sent: October 2, 2021 8:37 PM
To: Pepper publisher <>
Subject: Re: WE no longer publish



What a complete dork you are! Such a pompous old fart, unable to publish any criticism. Very self-important. You certainly live up to the nickname given to you by those at city hall. LOL.

Please investigate all you like the heritage grants were awarded to me by City Council. Another rookie mistake on your part. The advisory committee has no authority to approve or award heritage grants or loans. Only City Council has that power. I am 100% confident neither the committee nor I have done anything untoward. For the record, and as shown on the official record (meeting minutes) on two occasions I recused myself from any discussion; and on the third occasion I did not attend the meeting, being out of the country.

Rookie mistake after rookie mistake. Possible indications of onset of senility or just plain incompetence.

I shall be reporting a complaint against you personally and the Gazette corporately to the National NewsMedia Council relating to your inappropriate censorship and your harassing language via email.

I already have screenshot copies of the published editor’s notes to my comments going back more than a year. So delete away. But I suggest you keep copies because they will be called for by the National NewsMedia Council. You cannot delete your rude, abrasive and uncalled for language in emails I received from you.

Silly old man

I have no comment to make.

David Barker is a retired insurance executive and a Member of the Heritage Advisory Committee and the owner of a fine house that has been designated as historically significant

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11 comments to From time to time we have to suspend people from using the Gazette comments section – the response at times is vitriolic

  • Howard

    Your paper, your rules Pepper.
    Keep up the reporting ! If you make a mistake, own it then fix it. For DB, he is simply a very angry man.

  • Hilary Durrant

    Opinions are strong. Comments are great. One-sided articles sorrowful!

  • perryb

    Pepper occupies a rather interesting pulpit, being at various times reporter, opinion writer, publisher, editor, and private citizen (as well, as occasional IT manager). In ordinary print media these roles are usually more carefully separated. So it is not surprising if at times the roles overlap, intentionally or otherwise. Someone with the power to be both judge and jury must take care to avoid conflict of interest. This would seem to be such a case, better left off the record.

  • Bruce Leigh

    I thought I placed a similar comment to this earlier. But it seems to have disappeared into the ether.

    This sort of dirty laundry should not be aired in public, and certainly when one of the parties has such a public platform like the Gazette, and the other party has no platform.

    Keep your dirty laundry at home !

    In his email to Parr, Barker references inappropriate censorship by and harassing emails from Parr. What’s that all about? No, really I don’t want to know. Though I do wonder.

  • Hans Jacobs

    I’m surprised that someone so lacking in good judgment could become an “insurance executive and a Member of the Heritage Advisory Committee”.

  • Deborah

    They say actions speak louder than words but it this case words are saying it all about this commenter. Not surprised he had been banned – I myself had to bluntly tell this person to stop commenting back in disagreement with my comment after his trying to pick an argument with me over my thoughts. it’s continually interesting to see people who get ‘into’ City Hall, on whatever level, who feel they have some sort of power by being ‘on the inside’ to have so-called secrets who then feel they can use that power against others.

  • Hilary Durrant

    Wow, Mr Barker is certainly mad with you, Pepper.
    However, this Gazette is only showing Mr Barker’s email. What about having a view of the email or emails Pepper has sent, which Mr Barker remarks on. Then the Gazette’s readers can be fully informed of the whole dispute, not just one side.
    Plus have I missed something here.
    There seems a lot of hot air going around between the Gazette and Mr David Barker, it seems to be getting very personal – unsure why it’s in the public domain. If Mr Barker has made a complaint which he says he has done, then surely just let that progress through the proper channels.
    Rather than having a tit for tat spat in public!

  • Bruce Leigh

    Should this have been published? It’s one side of obviously what is a two sided matter. Barker says in his correspondence that the Gazette published that the publisher had inappropriately censored material and use harassing language towards him in emails. If this is going to be in the public domain, what’s that all about?

    Better to keep the dirty laundry at home.

  • Blair Smith

    What a totally vile but illuminating email. Just wrong on every level. Pepper may be many things, but a “rookie” certainly isn’t one. The rest is personal bias and best left to the private musings of the writer.

  • Lynn Crosby

    This email is very disrespectful and I’m sorry Pepper that you received it. Why must people always threaten to sue or threaten to report people etc? Ironically it seems to justify the banning.

    But honestly my biggest concern is this line: “You certainly live up to the nickname given to you by those at city hall. LOL.”

    Why exactly does City Hall have an obviously disparaging nickname for Pepper, a member of our local media who reports on city matters and why on earth does a random citizen member of a committee know about it – “yuk yuk ha ha” – do they all joke about this openly? I thought we elected a new council to bring forth change to the toxicity and disrespect around city hall that we all came to see last time around? It seems nothing has changed.