A woman who claimed that an article in the Sun referring to her having “married a chandelier-style light fitting” discriminated against her sexual orientation has had her complaint dismissed by the industry regulator.
Amanda Liberty said her sexual orientation is an attraction to inanimate objects, which has been described in one academic paper as “objectum sexual”.
In columnist Jane Moore’s annual “awards” column for 2019, she awarded Liberty the “Dagenham Award (Two Stops Past Barking)”.
Moore wrote that Liberty had married a chandelier-style light fitting and asked whether she was “Dim & Dimmer?”
Liberty, from Leeds, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sun had breached Clause 12 (discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
She claimed the December article was “pejorative to her sexual orientation”.
Liberty “also raised concerns that the article referred to a chandelier-style light fitting when, in fact, she was in a relationship, not a marriage, with a chandelier”.
The Sun opposed the complaint, arguing that “sexual orientation in the context of Clause 12 covered people who were attracted to people of the same sex, the opposite sex, or both”, not people who were attracted to objects.
The newspaper also said it “was not aware of any reputable definition of sexual orientation which included objectum sexual”.
Dismissing Liberty’s complaint, IPSO ruled: “Clause 12 provides protection to individuals in relation to their sexual orientation towards other persons and not to objects.
“As such, the complainant’s attraction to an object did not fall within the definition of sexual orientation as provided by Clause 12 and the terms of Clause 12 were not engaged.”
The regulator said it “recognised that the complainant found the article to be offensive and upsetting”.
But it added that the code “does not cover issues of taste and offence – newspapers are free to publish information as they see fit as long as the Editors’ Code is not otherwise breached”.
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