The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is on record as asserting “The family is the greatest institution on God’s green earth”. And for him, “the family” has at its core a man and a woman in a heterosexual, married relationship. So it has to be for the Daily Mail: anyone participating in any other form of relationship, whether unmarried, not monogamous, or not heterosexual, is to be frowned upon and, indeed, disparaged.
Homophobia, Guv? Issa big word, innit?!?
So it was that when Boyzone singer Stephen Gately died suddenly, the Mail dispatched Glenda Cattia Maxima Jan Moir to pass severely adverse comment on the idea that the relationship in which Gately was involved was at all normal. The headline, “A strange, lonely and troubling death” provoked a deluge of complaints. The Press Complaints Commission, as was customary, wiped the Mail’s backside over the furore.
But the Mail never learns, never listens: Dacre has decreed that homosexuality is wrong; Mail pundits therefore ensure this line is delivered to the readers. The same denunciation has been meted out to Trans people, as when tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn went after teacher Lucy Meadows, who later took her own life. Littlejohn, too, though, never learns, and so he returned to gay- and trans-bashing yesterday.
“Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal” ranted the headline: one has to remember that Littlejohn writes - badly - as if he were standing at the bar of a north London pub some time before the Millennium, which would be the last time he actually lived in this country. He could get away with gobbing off in that style then, and so from the comfort of his Florida mansion, believes he can continue to do so.
The attack on sportsman Tom Daley and his partner, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, was over their announcement that they are starting a family though surrogacy. Dicky Windbag also took the opportunity to indulge in more trans-bashing, and ordered anyone not yet asleep to “stop pretending that this is the new normal. Not in our house, it isn’t. Nor, I suspect, in yours or 99.99% of the rest of the world, either”.
Sadly for the Mail, Littlejohn’s freedom to be a rabid homophobic and transphobic bigot was matched by the paper’s advertisers exercising their freedom not to be associated with it. After Stop Funding Hate contacted many of them - along with many of the group’s supporters - several companies decided to put their ad spend elsewhere.
The South Bank Centre told “We have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail”. Honda UK decided to consider its position, which suggests the Dacre doggies are now on a yellow card with them. Quorn Foods requested that their online adverts alongside the Littlejohn rant were removed. And family holiday firm Center Parcs declared “We … take a number of steps to prevent our advertising from appearing alongside inappropriate content. We felt this placement was completely unacceptable and have ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect”. Others may move or pull Mail advertising.
All of which underscores that, while the Mail is free to publish what it wants, the rest of the world is free to take its business elsewhere. And leave the Dacre doggies in the last Century.