Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre have scrapped future advertising from the Daily Mail after a Richard Littlejohn column headlined: “Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal.”
Center Parcs said it was stopping advertising in the Daily Mail with “immediate effect”.
Meanwhile, other brands including Iceland, NatWest, the Craft Gin Club and AutoTrader say they’re reviewing their advertising in the newspaper.
The outrage following Littlejohn’s article quickly led to people questioning the adverts running alongside it.
Hey @CenterParcsUK does this mean same-sex parents shouldn’t bring their families to your holiday parks?? Pretty confusing message advertising with @DailyMailUK – please address. @StopFundingHatepic.twitter.com/GCu6lfHOvd
— Cal Stannard (@calwst) February 16, 2018
Center Parcs reacted quickly, with a statement reading: “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.”
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
Littlejohn’s article was in response to the news that Olympic diver Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Black are having a child via a surrogate.
The often controversial journalist predicted an angry response to his opinion piece and ridiculed critics before they had the chance to react, writing: “Before the usual suspects start bouncing up and down, squealing ‘homophobia’, don’t bother. I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.”
He continued: “I supported civil partnerships long before it was fashionable and 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, and despite the fact that countless single parents do a fantastic job, I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.
“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.”
Publisher and same-sex parent to twins, Linda Riley celebrated the decision by Center Parcs, tweeting: “My kids & I I regularly use CenterParcsUK – it’s always had such an LGBT friendly-vibe- Delighted do see them taking this stand: Center Parcs pulls Daily Mail ads after column against same-sex parents.”
My kids & I I regularly use CenterParcsUK – it’s always had such an LGBT friendly-vibe- Delighted do see them taking this stand: Center Parcs pulls Daily Mail ads after column against same-sex parents https://t.co/YOu24sPvx9
— Linda Riley (@LindaRiley8) February 17, 2018
Actor and proud gay dad to two kids, Charlie Condou applauded the decision by Center Parcs, simply saying “Excellent work!”
Excellent work @CenterParcsUK !
— Charlie Condou (@Charliecondou) February 17, 2018
Meanwhile Caitlin Moran wrote: “Jesus had two dads, dude.”
I love that Richard Littlejohn’s gone with “two dads aren’t normal.” Jesus had two dads, dude. https://t.co/mTLiGbp9qE
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) February 16, 2018
But presenter and journalist Julia Hartley Brewer defended Richard Littlejohn saying “Center Parcs needs to get a grip”.
I don’t agree with Richard Littlejohn that a man & woman would necessarily raise a child better than a gay couple. But he is entitled to express his opinion in our free country, and his opinion is not homophobic. CenterParcs need to get a grip. https://t.co/M7yBENQipX
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) February 17, 2018
There’s been no response to the controversy yet from the Daily Mail.