A Daily Mail Column Causes Controversy

10.16.2009

By Noah Michelson

Photo: Getty Images

Marks & Spencer, one of the UK's most prestigious brands, demanded that one of its ads be pulled from the Daily Mail's website after it appeared next to a controversial op-ed piece by columnist Jan Moir regarding the tragic death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.

Gately was found dead on Saturday afternoon near the resort Port Andratx on the Spanish island of Majorca following a night out with his partner Andrew Cowles. Though rumors of heavy drinking, drugging, and a possible threesome with another man have run rampant since the singer's death, authorities recently stated that Gately died of natural causes -- an acute pulmonary oedema (a build-up of fluid on the lungs).

Thousands of complaints came pouring into the British Press Complaints Commission causing the regulator's site to crash in response to Moir's column which argues that Gately's death "strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships."

In an unusual move, Moir responded to the criticism of her piece saying, "When I wrote that 'he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine,' I was referring to the drugs and the casual invitation to a stranger. Not to the fact of his homosexuality."

Unsatisfied with her statement, Marks & Spencer pulled their advertising from the webpage featuring Moir's column. Earlier today a Facebook page was set up urging users to lobby brands featured on the page, including Marks & Spencer, to pull their advertising and now all display advertising surrounding Moir's article has been removed from the Mail Online webpage.

"Marks
& Spencer does not tolerate any form of discrimination," said a
spokesman for the retailer. "We have asked the Daily Mail to move our
advertisement away from the article. This is a matter for the Daily
Mail." Nestle, which also had an ad on the page, remarked that Moir's comments went against the company's devotion to "mutual respect and tolerance." The company added, "Nestle has no influence on the editorial content of the publications in which it advertises. The views expressed in the article are from the author and are not shared by Nestle."

Previously > Boyzone's Stephen Gately Remembered

Tags: Popnography
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