Last week, the Daily Mail ran a piece titled ‘Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal’.
The column – written by right-wing journalist Richard Littlejohn – was in response to Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black’s news that they are to become fathers, after they posted a scan of their unborn baby on Instagram to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
However, Littlejohn’s piece didn’t celebrate the fact that in 2018, families can come in a manner of different set-ups. It was quite the opposite.
Joking that someone should “pass [him] the sick bag” after seeing a photo of their ultrasound scan on social media, the controversy-peddling author labelled the news a ‘publicity stunt’ and suggested the child won’t really be their baby.
“Here we have two men drawing attention to the fact that ‘they’ are having a baby,” he wrote.
“But where’s the mum, the possessor of the womb which features in this photograph? She appears to have been written out of the script entirely. We are not told her identity, where she lives… she is merely the anonymous incubator.
“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.”
The piece rightly caused outrage, and some of the Daily Mail’s major advertisers decided to stop placing ads with them, including Center Parcs, Quorn and the Southbank Centre.
“Southbank Centre reaches out to audiences through wide-ranging online and offline media titles, across the political spectrum,” the latter stated.
“We monitor the environment in which our advertising appears, to ensure the values of a publication are compatible with our own. We have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail.”
It was a clear call to the newspaper that spreading hate in 2018 is not acceptable.
However, in response, a spokesperson for the publication didn’t apologise for Littlejohn’s bigotry, but rather defended it by insulting the people it offended.
“Had any of the political zealots who attacked Richard Littlejohn’s column actually read it they would know that he explicitly supports civil partnerships and the fostering of children by gay couples – hardly evidence of homophobia,” they said in a statement to the Press Gazette.
“Nor is it homophobic to ask whether it is right to deny a child the love of its own mother.
“It is very sad that any advertiser should give way to bullying by a tiny group of politically motivated internet trolls in their attempts to censor newspapers with which they disagree.”
As for the parents-to-be themselves, Dustin Lance Black too to Instagram over the weekend to address the negative reaction their good news.
“My reaction to others’ hate, bigotry and misinformation will not include anger or hate,” he wrote, alongside a throwback picture of himself and Tom on honeymoon in Hawaii last year.
“For me, the path forward is lit with curiosity, listening, correcting the record when possible, and as best I can, leading with an example of strength and love.”
Tom and Dustin first got engaged back in October 2015, before tying the knot during a ceremony in front of family and friends last May.