Centre Parcs and Southbank Centre pull advertising from Daily Mail after Richard Littlejohn column on same-sex parents

Centre Parcs has joined the Southbank Centre in deciding to pull advertising from the Daily Mail after a Richard Littlejohn column on same-sex parents.

The column, headlined: “Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal”, was in response to the news that Olympic diver Tom Daley and his screenwriter husband Dustin Black are having a child with a surrogate.

In the piece, Littlejohn said: “I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.”

The column was met with backlash on social media.

The Gay UK magazine reached out to brands featured alongside the article including Jet2, Calvin Klein, Quorn and Natwest for comment.

The Southbank centre was the first advertiser to pull ad spend, saying on Thursday last week that it has “no future plans” to advertise with the Daily Mail.

In a statement on Twitter, the London venue said: “Southbank Centre reaches out to audiences through wide-ranging online and offline media titles, across the political spectrum.

“We monitor the environment in which our advertising appears, to ensure the values of a publication are compatible with our own. We have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail.”

Centre Parcs announced its plans to stop advertising on the Mail when a user on Twitter asked: “My son so wants me to book at your parks, but how can I do that if you support homophobia?”

A Centre Parcs spokesperson replied:”We take where we advertise very seriously and have a number of steps to prevent our advertising from appearing alongside inappropriate content.

“We felt this placement was completely unacceptable and therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect.”

A spokesperson from Stop Funding Hate told The Gay UK: “Many customers of Jet2 and Calvin Klein will be deeply disappointed to see them funding this divisive and disheartening article.

“Yet again we see that the Daily Mail is increasingly out of touch with the views of mainstream British society.

“A recent YouGov poll found that 58 per cent of people believe that companies should withdraw their advertising if it is placed next to content they think is racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.”

A spokesperson for the Daily Mail said: “Had any of the political zealots who attacked Richard Littlejohn’s column actually read it they would know that he explicitly supports civil partnerships and the fostering of children by gay couples – hardly evidence of homophobia.

“Nor is it homophobic to ask whether it is right to deny a child the love of its own mother.

“It is very sad that any advertiser should give way to bullying by a tiny group of politically motivated internet trolls in their attempts to censor newspapers with which they disagree.”

The paper blamed a “small group of hard left Corbinistas” when Paperchase said they would stop advertising with the paper last November. 

Read Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford’s take on advertising boycotts against newspapers.


5 thoughts on “Centre Parcs and Southbank Centre pull advertising from Daily Mail after Richard Littlejohn column on same-sex parents”

  1. Homophobia (of this specific variety) may not be illegal (various other forms of homophobia definitely are illegal, btw), but that doesn’t obligate everyone to accept or ignore it. What’s more, it’s potentially damaging for the brand, which is the reason why these ads were pulled – the companies did not believe that what the Mail published was consistent with their stated brand values, or would otherwise damage their reputation. They are in no way censoring Richard Littlejohn. For your ‘free speech’ defence to apply in this situation, you have to extend your key argument from ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ to ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I must continue doing business with you even if it publically damages my reputation’.

    However, you consider homophobia to be ‘fun’, and think that the main reason people react negatively to homophobia is that they didn’t think about it hard enough. I think that speaks for itself in explaining where your interests in defending the Mail really lie.

  2. According to the equality act 2010, homosexuality is a characteristic protected from discrimination. So yeah. ‘gay-phobia’ is illegal.

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