I shouldn’t be but I still am – shocked by the gutter press. Having written about Tom Robinson only a few days ago – someone who intelligently challenged injustice, inequality and prejudice, I found it incredible, nearly 30 years later, that journalistic ignorance can still be so virulent.
Jan Moir’s article in the Daily Mail yesterday was an example of the worst kind of journalism. She writes reasonably well and her words are carefully chosen. What is disturbing and insulting (especially to the young man’s family) is that she could possibly believe her words would appeal to anyone other than the prejudiced, the intellectually challenged and the homophobic self-righteous.
To write the words in a national newspaper the day before Stephen Gately’s funeral is repulsive and cruelly insensitive to put it mildly. I doubt, in her ‘controversial’ zeal, it even entered her head how hideously inappropriate her timing was.
Genuine ignorance can be forgiven. ‘Considered’ words that express prejudice so vehemently, cannot.
Phrases like ‘effectively smoked out of the closet’ and the tragic story (in her view) – ‘spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend – like a broken teacup in a rented cottage’, are bad enough …
To say, ‘Healthy and fit 33-year-olds do not climb into pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up’, is worse. Not only is it insulting to those who have experienced such a tragic death – it is blatently not true.
The mind that conjures phrases like ‘Let’s be honest, the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy’, and Stephen’s death ‘strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’, only compounds the depth of Jan Moir’s deeply-flawed understanding of the issues involved.
Not satisfied with insulting Stephen’s family, expressing Neanderthal views, kicking in the teeth those who have tragically lost 33-year olds and ladling her homophobic prejudice on all of us who read her vile diatribe, her article ends – plummeting to unimaginable depths of pretentious ignorance – with her final flourish …
‘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.’
My God, where did this woman appear from? Worse still, the editors of the Daily Mail allowed such an article to be printed. The ‘journalist’ denies today she is homophobic. She may genuinely think she isn’t but I’m afraid the words you use Madam tell us something very different. The ‘oozing’, ‘seeping’, ‘sleaze’ resides, whether you like in or not, inside your own confused mind.
I was never a huge fan of Stephen Gately, but no-one, NO-ONE, should be subjected to such monstrous, pitiless and deeply-insensitive scrutiny from someone so heartless and opportunistically vindictive.
If you won’t apologise, Jan Moir, then I will – on your behalf – to Stephen’s family and friends and all those you have so unnecessarily distressed in their time of grief.
Please add your voice to the thousands who have complained so far – HERE
STEPHEN GATELY 1976 – 2009