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.”

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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.



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

  1. This report repeatedly misspells ‘Center Parcs’ and incorrectly spells ‘Corbynistas’ once.

    More importantly, the crassness of the Twitter-user’s complaint and Center Parcs’ supine capitulation thereto is perturbing. Neither party appears to grasp the basic tenets of free speech and free, diverse press: just because a columnist expresses a view, it does not mean their publication necessarily shares or endorses it, or that advertisers do so. Even if they do, that is no reason to boycott the company. Gay-phobia is not illegal.

    Southbank Centre’s withdrawal of advertising is similarly dumb, and the measure is especially concerning by a supposedly cerebral, cultural organisation – as is their taking Stop Funding Hate cranks seriously. Stop Having Fun, more like.

    The report does not say whether the YouGov poll question’s phrasing was weighted or rhetorically loaded. But, even if it was couched in an open, balanced manner, enabling considered responses, 58% is hardly a landslide: it is virtually a Brexit-style near-draw. And, even if participants were given the opportunity to mull the matter carefully and informedly, one suspects many did not bother to do so.

  2. Personally, I think the Express is – by a country mile – the most bilious, venal, hate-mongering, far-right newspaper in Britain. It amuses me when people go bananas over the Mail but say nothing about the Express, which is far, far more overt in its prejudice against all minorities, from Muslims to immigrants to the LGBT community.

    That said, the gist of this piece by Littlejohn was clearly incendiary and appalling, and companies are entitled to not want their brands associated with it. That’s their prerogative. It’s not censorship. They don’t want their brands appearing alongside this bile for the same reason they don’t want Gary Glitter as their spokesman.

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