Center Parcs, which operates a number of family-targeted holiday villages across the UK, took the decision to pull advertising following the publication of an opinion piece by columnist Richard Little john titled ‘Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal’.
“Before the usual suspects start bouncing up and down, squealing ‘homophobia’, don’t bother,” he wrote on February 15.
“I’d rather children were fostered by loving gay couples than condemned to rot in state-run institutions, where they face a better-than-average chance of being abused.
That said I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.”
1/2 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.
— Center Parcs UK (@CenterParcsUK) February 16, 2018
Elsewhere, Littlejohn continued: “No one is suggesting that homosexual couples can’t make excellent parents. But nor is everyone comfortable with the trend towards treating women as mere breeding machines and babies as commodities.
“I’ve written before about the modern tendency in some quarters to regard children as fashion accessories, like those preposterous designer handbag dogs”.
Center Parcs’ decision follows complaints from Stop Funding Hate, a ‘pressure’ group which confronts brands who advertise with the Daily Mail, about its continued relationship with the publication on Twitter.
“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.
Center Parcs isn’t the only business to sever ties with the Daily Mail over Littlejohn’s column; London’s Southbank Centre have also announced it will no longer be advertising in the newspaper, in an attempt to “ensure the values of a publication are compatible with our own.”
The Guardian reports that a number of other brands who advertise in the print and online versions of the publication were called out by Stop Funding Hate after the column was published, including Suzuki, Honda, the Co-op, Natwest, BT’s Plusnet, Boots, Carpetright, Iceland, DFS and Morrisons.
Today's Daily Mail advertisers include @southbankcentre @SuzukiCarsUK @Honda @coopuk @Plusnet @BootsUK @Carpetright @IcelandFoods @DFS @Morrisons #thecoopway #startspreadinglove #stopfundinghate pic.twitter.com/CJM4CWLPAs
— Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) February 16, 2018
The Daily Mail’s response to the controversy generated by the piece is typically Mail-ish, attributing the criticism to “a tiny group of politically motivated internet trolls.”
“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,” said a spokesperson for the Daily Mail.
“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 an 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.”
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