Major businesses have pulled their advertising with media website Daily Mail after it published a story that incorrectly identified a double child murderer as trans.
Hotel chain, Travelodge, and online survey portal, Survey Monkey both stopped advertising with Daily Mail after the story.
The Daily Star originally reported – and then retracted – that Ian Huntley convicted of murdering two children in 2003 was trans. The Star corrected the story that Hunter wanted to transition genders so he could move to a female prison.
The Daily Mail also published the story but did not change the incorrect the claims that Hunter now identifies as female.
‘The implicit association between murderer Ian Huntley, and the transgender community (specifically trans women) has been extremely damaging – cited by anti-trans groups like FairPlay For Women and Women’s Place UK, as a reason to not extend proposed changes to the GRA, as well as lobbying to remove existing legal rights for trans people as currently provided under the 2010 Equality Act,’ said trans advocate @mimmymum.
‘It was cited in numerous occasions during the GRA consultation, and has generated a barrage of abuse towards trans people.’
Stop Funding Hate
Trans advocates called for the Daily Mail to scrap the story. That’s where online campaign, Stop Funding Hate, stepped in.
Stop Funding Hate is a campaign which aims to make ‘hate unprofitable by persuading advertisers to pull their support from publications that spread hate and division’. It has recently set its sights on media outlets who publish transphobic stories.
Richard Wilson, director, Stop Funding Hate said the past year has seen a flood of toxic media stories targeting trans people
‘But being a consumer gives each of us a voice,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘If enough of us speak out, and urge the companies we shop with to stop advertising with media that fuel hate and misinformation about the trans community, this could help to turn the tide.’
Wilson said the long-term goal was to bring about a healthier and fairer media by making hate unprofitable.
‘We know that one of the reasons newspapers publish toxic and inflammatory stories about trans people and other minority groups is that this can be an effective way of driving “clicks” and boosting advertising revenue,’ he said.
‘But this only works so long as advertisers are prepared to go along with it. And we know that many brands are now beginning to think more carefully about where their advertising money is going.’
The campaign has shown great success in reducing anti-migrant and anti-Muslim headlines in the UK media.
Within one day of targeting the Daily Mail, both Survey Monkey and Travelodge pulled their advertising.
SurveyMonkey confirms it is no longer advertising with the Daily Mail | Photo: Twitter
‘Our hope is that if enough people now use their power as consumers to challenge UK newspapers over their coverage of trans issues, this could help bring about a similar reduction in anti-trans hate and misinformation within the UK press,’ Wilson said.
Wilson celebrated the two companies’ decision to stop advertising with the Daily Mail.
‘Surveymonkey deserve credit for taking prompt action after discovering that their ad was appearing on this Daily Mail article, which repeats the toxic (and debunked) suggestion that one of the UK’s most notorious murderers is trans,’ he said,
‘The companies we shop with care what their customers think, and our experience has been that many brands will act when these issues are brought to their attention.’
‘Many Travelodge customers will be heartened to see that the company has taken action after their ad appeared on a debunked story which has caused such concern within the trans community,’ Wilson said.
‘We hope that other advertisers will take note – and that the Daily Mail will commit to reporting more responsibly on issues that impact on trans people.’
At the time of publication, the Daily Mail has still not removed the story.