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Jay Rayner ‘pilloried in public’ over school suspension for drug use

He said that his mother was ‘ridden by guilt’ over the incident.

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Jay Rayner was suspended by his school (Ian West/PA)

Jay Rayner was suspended by his school (Ian West/PA)

Jay Rayner was suspended by his school (Ian West/PA)

Jay Rayner has said he was “pilloried in public” as a teenager after his suspension from school for drug use was reported by the media because of his mother’s fame.

The restaurant critic and MasterChef judge told the Big Issue that he got in trouble with teachers after they found out he smoked cannabis with his friends at a party following a school play.

He said that the story was sold to a newspaper, who were interested in the incident because his mother Claire Rayner was in the public eye as an agony aunt.

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(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

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(Ian West/PA)

Rayner told the magazine: “I started smoking dope when I was about 13 or 14 – I was an early starter.

“I was invited to an all-night party after a school play and a group of us got stoned.

“The next day somebody grassed us all up to the school and a massive inquest started.”

He added that after initially trying to lie about the incident he “crumbled under interrogation”.

“I was thrown out of school from early May and told they would decide later whether I would ever return,” he said.

She felt that I'd been pilloried in public because of who she was.Jay Rayner

Rayner added that “a couple of guys” decided to sell the story and “my mum was ridden by guilt”.

“She felt that because of her profile, what should have been a dramatic but private incident became a public one.

“She felt that I’d been pilloried in public because of who she was. And she was absolutely right.”

The critic, whose father Desmond Rayner was an actor, said that he felt “very hard done by” over the incident, adding that he would advise his younger self to “hold out” when being questioned.

“They could never have proved it,” he said.

The Big Issue’s vendors are not working amid the coronavirus outbreak but people can support the magazine by subscribing online at bigissue.com.

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