Center Parcs and Southbank Centre 'won't advertise in Daily Mail' after Richard Littlejohn article

Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre in London are the latest organisations to say they will no longer advertise in the Daily Mail - with the former issuing an apology for doing so.

Stop Funding Hate: welcomes action bu Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre
Stop Funding Hate: welcomes action bu Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre

It follows a recent column in the newspaper by Richard Littlejohn that relates to Olympic diver Tom Daley and his partner Dustin Lance-Black, who this week announced they were having a child through a surrogate mother.

In the column, published on Thursday and titled "Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal", Littlejohn described the case as "the most extreme example yet of the demands of selfish adults being given priority over the best interests of the unborn child".

Center Parcs tweeted that it would stop advertising in the Daily Mail in response to criticism of the Littlejohn article by a Twitter user.

A statement from the holiday park operator said: "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 have therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect. We apologise for any offence this may have caused."

A spokesman for Center Parcs told PRWeek that the company is not a regular Daily Mail advertiser but ran an ad campaign in the newspaper this year. He stated: "The current campaign has been cancelled with immediate effect."

The Southbank Centre tweeted today (Friday):

PRWeek has asked the Southbank Centre how often it advertises in The Daily Mail but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Separately, car company Honda tweeted that it was "investigating" the issue after the Littlejohn article was highlighted by a Twitter user.

The news follows the growing prominence of the pressure group Stop Funding Hate, which targets businesses that advertise in the Sun, Express, and the Daily Mail.

In December, Pizza Hut Deliveries apologised on social media following a backlash online to a promotional deal it ran in the print edition of The Sun. Retailer Paperchase took similar action in November following objections to a promotional deal it ran in the Daily Mail.

Last month, Virgin Trains hit the headlines after PRWeek revealed the contents of an internal mail that stated it would not give out free copies of the Daily Mail because the newspaper was "not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs" - although the train operator later backtracked.

In a statement, Stop Funding Hate director Richard Wilson said today: "The Daily Mail is increasingly out of touch with the views of mainstream British society – and it’s no surprise that more and more advertisers are distancing themselves."

Wilson pointed to a YouGov poll that found 58 per cent of people believe that companies should withdraw their advertising if it is placed next to content they think is racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic, and only 10 per cent of people believe the Daily Mail has a positive influence on society.

He added: "Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre are to be commended for responding promptly to the public's concerns. We hope that the Co-op Group will now reflect carefully on their continuing association with the Daily Mail."

In response to earlier news last year that fashion brand Joy said it would work to prevent its ads appearing online in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, the Daily Mail described it as a "disturbing trend".

The newspaper accused Joy of "caving in to a tiny pressure group seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose its views on others", adding: "The world of public relations - which rightly champions freedom of expression - should be worried about this disturbing trend."

PRWeek asked the Daily Mail to comment on the news about Center Parcs and the Southbank Centre but recieved no response at the time of publication.

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