A controversial article in today’s (16.10.09) Daily Mail by columnist Jan Moir , ‘‘Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death’’ has provoked outrage across social networking sites Twiitter and Facebook and beyond. And the storm shows no sign of slowing down.
Hundred of tweeters have posted Tweets expressing anger and revulsion at Moir’s article which seemed to link Gately’s death to his gay lifestyle, and also used it as stick with which to beat down the notion of same sex civil partnerships as being as normal as heterosexual ones.
A Facebook page has also been set up asking the Daily Mail ‘to retract Jan Moir’s hateful, homophobic article’. Celebrities such as Derren Brown and Stephen Fry and media commentators such as The Guardian's Roy Greenslade have also weighed into the fray criticising Moir’s column.
On Twitter Derren Brown urged people ‘to complain where it matters’ with a link to the Press Complaints Commission. Whether by coincidence or sheer volume of traffic as of 3pm this afternoon the PCC homepage could not be accessed and appeared to have crashed.
Tweeting on the piece Stephen Fry described it as ‘loathsome and inhumane.’
In her article Moir comments that ‘The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath’ and ‘that that the circumstances surrounding his [Gateley’s] death are more than a little sleazy.’
She also argues that the tragedy ‘strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’.
She then ends her column by saying : ‘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.
For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.‘
The Daily Mail’s own website has been inundated with comments, over 500 at last count. At 2.30pm George of London wrote: ’I agree with the comments re the Gately piece - callous, tacky and plain stupid.’