Friday, October 16, 2009

Let's All Complain To The Press Complaints Commission about Jan Moir's Attack On The Late Stephen Gately

I just complained to the Press Complaints Commission about Jan Moir for this horrifically homophobic article on Stephen Gately.  I found out about it at Enemies of Reason.

If you want to take part, it couldn't be simpler.  Simply fill out this online form.

[Edit: Apparently the PCC doesn't generally accept third party complaints:

In regard to complaints about matters of general fact under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code – where there are no obvious first parties cited in the article, who might complain – the Commission can, and regularly does, investigate complaints from any concerned reader.

In addition the PCC has an absolute discretion about whether or not to investigate any complaint. If, therefore, there appeared to be an exceptional public interest in accepting a complaint from a third party concerning a named individual, then it would do so – but the arguments set out above mean that it is a high threshold to cross and in practice it happens very rarely."

So do include Clause 1 in your complaint.  Which I, er, didn't.  And if you are gay, or in a civil partnership, or anything else relevant, then point it out if you've been directly offended."]

This is what I put - feel free to copy, paste and edit as much as you like:
Jan Moir has broken clauses 5 and 12 in the Code of Practice.  She has attacked the late Stephen Gately and made unwarranted and unfounded accusations of hedonism or foul play, based solely on the fact that he is young and gay.  She has used this as an excuse to attack civil partnerships.

This is not only insensitive to Mr Gately's grieving family, but also to millions of people who will be offended by her citing his sexuality as contributory to his death.


"The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again."

* Except, they do.  Quite frequently.  Which Ms Moir would know if she had done some basic research.

"Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered."

* Absolutely not true.  All that has been established so far is that Mr Gately died of natural causes.  As yardsticks go, a post mortem is a pretty good one.

"And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.
After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards."

* Yes, it is disrespectful, and Jan Moir knows nothing about the relationship between Dochev and Gately or Cowles.  One of the comments by a reader below the story suggests that they are in fact old friends.  There is also no evidence to suggest that there is any link between friendships and sudden unexpected death.

"Gately's family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer's death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.
Nevertheless, his mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family."

* An implication that Mr Gately's grieving mother is a liar.

"Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.
Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened."

* Mr Gately's sexuality is completely irrelevant to the story, nor does it have anything to do with the death of Kevin McGee.  The only similarities are that they both at some stage entered into civil partnerships, and that they are both now very sadly no longer with us.

"As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine."

* This may or may not be a suggestion that by being gay and famous he was somehow encouraging young impressionable men to follow suit.
These are the clauses broken:
5 Intrusion into grief or shock
i) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings, such as inquests.

12 Discrimination
i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Right, now I'm off to the hospital to complain about side-effects.

[Edit: Also the #thedailymailisgay hashtag on Twitter is quite good fun.]


  1. Anything to be of service. :)


  3. Wow. What a nice chap. And such progressive attitudes towards homosexuality as well!

  4. oof it's getting messy over there...


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