Robert Hampton

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17th October 2009

Jan Ravings
Posted by at 10.29am | No responses | In the News

My parents take the Daily Mail as their main newspaper, and I’m too cheap to buy an alternative, so I usually get to at least glance at the paper every day (sample headline from last week: “Why do so many marriages end in murder trials?”)

Even a casual glance would tell that the paper is generally anti-gay. Usually, it’s just silly, as with their star columnist Richard Littlejohn, whose interest in homosexuality borders on the obsessive. Occasionally it becomes more nasty: in 1993, they carried a report on research into genetic causes for homosexuality, with the headline, “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ findings”.

Now of course it’s all about Jan Moir, whose column about Stephen Gately has attracted a certain amount of attention. I don’t want to link to the Mail and give them any more advertising pennies, so I’ll link to Charlie Brooker’s excoriation of Moir’s column instead.

She has ignored the postmortem and all known facts about the case. She is exploiting Gately’s death to make dubious insinuations about gay people. To do that, especially when that person’s funeral hasn’t even taken place, is just plain wicked.

What is reassuring is the outpouring of anger, fuelled by Brooker’s column and Tweets from Stephen Fry and others, which has forced the Mail onto the back foot.

So far Moir has issued a non-apology for her comments (blaming an “orchestrated campaign” by “the gay community”), but hopefully the pressure will be kept up. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve reached the point as a society where this sort of thing is no longer acceptable.

The Press Complaints Commission has received over 1000 complaints, although complaining to that body is largely pointless since they can only deal with complaints from people directly involved.

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