In response to backlash received after running an article with the headline, “'Please don't pretend two dads is the new normal,” British tabloid The Daily Mail released a statement calling those who criticized the op-ed “political zealots,” according to PressGazette.
The original article, written by Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, discusses diver Tom Daley’s recent announcement that he's expecting a child, through surrogate, with his partner, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Littlejohn claims that while he is not homophobic, he “still cling[s] to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.” Littlejohn goes on to call Daley’s announcement a “publicity stunt.”
Later in the article, Littlejohn compares the Daley news to that of another recent story about a transgender woman breastfeeding for the first time. “Sorry, but…someone in possession of a full set of wedding tackle is a man, not a woman.” He ends the article by asking his fellow journalists to “grow a pair – if that’s not too ‘transphobic’ – and stop pretending this is the new normal.”
Despite Littlejohn’s assertations that a man and a woman are better suited to raise children and that trans women are not considered women until they have had gender-confirmation surgery, the article fails to provide any sort of factual evidence to support these claims.
After a torrent of online criticism over the article, many companies, such as the Southbank Centre, a music venue, and Centre Parcs, a vacation company, pulled their ads from the Daily Mail.
Daily Mail advertisers were called on by many Britons to stop working with the gossip rag. For Southbank, the pressure increased when an online petition urging it to cut ties circulated on social media. At time of publication, the petition had 8,909 signatures.
In two separate tweets, Southbank Centre denounced the Daily Mail: “Southbank Centre reaches out to audiences through wide-ranging online and offline media titles, across the political spectrum,” they tweeted. “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.”
The Daily Mail refused to back down, instead attacking those who objected to their odious piece.
“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,” the statement read. “Nor is it homophobic to ask whether it is right to deny a child the love of its own mother.”