Shanene Thorpe’s Petition: Please take a moment to sign

I just received an email from Shanene Thorpe via and I really wanted to share her petition with my readers. Shanene was given the opportunity to be interviewed by Newsnight about being a single, working mother struggling to pay rent and housing costs. “Of course I was happy to do it,” she writes in her petition letter, “being a working mum is something I am proud of.”

But the interview turned out to be far from the positive experience Shanene had expected: in the final edit, no mention is made of the fact she has a job. Reporter Allegra Stratton aggressively grills Shanene on why she wants a family home for herself and her three year old child – and why the three of them can’t just live together in her mother’s two bedroom flat. The interview is clipped just as Shanene says “I’m asking for help towards, I’m not asking for a free handout.”

You can watch the two minute interview here:

Here we go again, the age old image of single parents being scroungers being perpetuated. We know it’s not true, but the media just isn’t interested.

Shanene feels humiliated and wants an apology. I don’t blame her. Please take a couple of minutes to sign her petition to Peter Rippon, Editor of Newsnight, here. She should feel proud, not ashamed – and I hope this all brings her and other working single parents some positive press.


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10 responses to “Shanene Thorpe’s Petition: Please take a moment to sign

  1. hlexh

    I have signed. And I lodged a complaint with the BBC too. But I really feel more needs to be done about these journalistic gymnastics that our media is performing, all the time pulling our gaze away from the deep corruption of massive tax evasion by the uber-rich the dirty double-dealing of our ministers and greed of finance heads, and persistantly persecute those individuals whose impact on our expenditure is miniscule by comparison. Mothers, working or otherwise (what mother doesnt work) low down on the socio-economic scale are being victimised, and by proXy their children too. Something’s got to give.

    • Emily

      I completely agree, everything is so skewed – but it shouldn’t be on the BBC. And you’re right, every mother does work blummin’ hard. (Plus the new benefits rules mean single parents whose youngest child is five will have to find a job – easier said than done in the current climate and when you need something that fits in with school hours and terms – but that’s another blog post.) Thanks for commenting.

  2. Curt

    I agree that she was possibly the worst journalist possible for this interview, biased, bitter and manipulative! Perfect for interviewing the likes of Blair, Brown, Bush, Cameron etc… not a young working single mum…

    However, following the link to the petition from another site landed me on Shanene’s facebook profile.

    I’m a young, full-time employed single dad who doesn’t qualify for housing benefits or anything similar – I certainly can’t afford to be going to Ayia Nappa, in fact my daughter and I have to save for 2 years to get a holiday at Haven.

    I don’t have time to fill my facebook profile with pics of parties and wild nights out – I can’t afford the baby sitters for a start!

    If my tax is paying for her to have a house, and the money to waste on parties, drink, holidays – when my daughter and I have to budget in order to go swimming every week – then I’m sorry, in that case I agree that it has to stop. Lower my tax, let me buy a coat for my daughter without saving for 2 months. Let me keep my car on the road so I can go to her school shows and be back at work in time to only have to work a couple hours over time – not take a full day off because of the abysmal public transport.

    That said, I signed her petition, because reporters report, journalists document, and politicians / lawyers and accountants manipulate the truth, and Allegra Stratton is supposed to be one of the former.

    • Emily

      I’m not going to judge Shanene’s lifestyle choices, but this was a nasty piece of manipulative journalism. She has had an apology now, by the way.

  3. ronny

    Could you clarify how the “handout” she was looking for wasn’t a “free handout”, please?

  4. Stuart Mott

    I know we’re all supposed to feel sorry for Shanene here, and the BBC has maybe portrayed her unfairly by not stating that she actually does work, but I cant help but ask ‘Why did she have a child in the first place if she could not support it financially? Where is the father in this scenario? Is he contributing to the situation? If not then why?
    The truth is she could live at home with her mum, and her choice does come with a price tag. So unfortunately I will not sign her petition as I believe she has behaved irresponsibily, and her choices cost me and every other tax payer money that could be better spent elsewhere; I am 20 years old and in no position financially to have a child, consequently I practice safe sex and refrain from impregnating women. Unfortunately Shanene lends herself to the society that believes its okay to have a child without the financial means to care for it, because the taxman will pick up the peices, examples of which you see on Jeremy Kyle every morning.

    • Emily

      Hi Stuart,
      Not all single mums are like the ones you see on Mr Kyle’s show – that’s kind of the point. Your caution is admirable and I hope your contraception doesn’t let you down. Who knows where the father is, or whether he is contributing – but if he isn’t, that’s not Shanene’s fault.
      Shanene is working hard to provide for her daughter and set an example – but the media manipulated the interview so that she fitted the tired old Kyle cliche.

  5. joey

    I can’t believe that this woman actually created a petition for this. It is a personal issue, and not an issue of social injustice, a political crisis, or an area in which people are suffering. I agree that she was insulted, and the interview was poorly edited and does seem biased against her, but Shanene should go to the BBC with her complaint, enlist another journalist, even, but using a social network designed to help people speak out against real injustice and fight for human rights, the environment, etc…It is not on the same level. If lets this petition stand, we’ll soon see a host of others from folks who are using this valuable tool to seek recourse for their own petty personal injustices.

  6. Adriana Westmuckett

    Felt sympathetic to Curt’s rage against Shanene’s wild parties and holiday in Ayia Nappa, but when I looked at Shanene’s Facebook page I noticed that the posting of those pictures was not recent but dated as 2008. That’s four years ago, before Shanene’s daughter, who is only three, was born. I would not be so crass as to suggest that the holiday and parties were how Shanene became pregnant, but clearly she was a free childless young woman at the time of those photos. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t do much holidaying or partying now. Good on Curt for signing the petition anyway, but perhaps he was judging Shanene too hastily. Anyway, just trying to set the record straight.

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