A US site reporting the story posted what it said were two images, heavily censored, but Mark was very insistent on Twitter and Facebook that they were not him... Given the quality of the images, I might not have been so insistent...
Oh, I saw a tweet of his linking to a story that said 'with pictures' and thought he was verifying that they were the pictures...I see now he later clarified they are not.
As you say, if he was freelance they didnt need any excuse therefore his version of events doesnt stand either.
Bottom line is we will never know the real story
His version of events is plausible to me because 1) my parents have read The Express for years, I know the paper's attitude well, and this fits with it
2)the pictures referred to exist, and I have seen them
3) Shenton's been lamenting the way newspapers have been cutting their arts coverage and getting rid of critics. He has worked for The Express for 11 years. If they'd decided to let him go for another reason, that would have fit quite nicely into his narrative about the state of arts criticism. He doesn't need to make up anything dramatic.
4) Truth is stranger than fiction - you couldn't make this up!
There are two sides to every story, that is true, but given the way The Express has justified extremely unethical decisions in the past - just look at their rampant scaremongering, and the way they libelled the McCanns, not to mention the Diana conspiracy theories they peddle - there's no particular reason to think their side of the story would reflect well on them.
I've been lucky/determined enough to see a lot of sold out shows at the Donmar, several through getting up at silly o'clock to queue. So I find it odd when the place is half-empty, and lacking that buzz of excitement you get from people who are psyched just to get a ticket.
You need to be very careful what you post here regarding allegations like that. You really think an HR person employed by a national newspaper would fire someone on that basis ? There is a clear legal process for terminating anyone's employment and you can be sure that the newspaper will think they have followed it. Until you have heard both sides it is best not to take sides.
Only if he was employed on a salaried basis - it's more likely that he was working on a freelance basis, paid per column, especially as he was also working for The Stage at the same time.
You can legally stop using a freelancer at any point for any reason. So if he was freelance, The Express wouldn't need an 'excuse' to get rid of him (just as other newspapers who have sacked their reviewers recently didn't need an excuse to do so), which means there is no real reason to doubt his version of events.
I'm really quite surprised that people here have immediately jumped to the conclusion that he's lying - The Express is not a gay-friendly or liberal newspaper and caters to an older demographic who tend to be shocked at the existence of the internet, let alone nude photos on gay websites. It is absolutely in character for The Express to sack someone for this reason.