31.7.10

Letter to The Sunday Times: Clare Balding

The following letter has been sent to John Witherow - the editor of The Sunday Times.

Dear sir

I'm writing to express my extreme shock at the comments you have made to Clare Balding in response to her complaint to your newspaper.

The Sunday Times is heralded as one of Britain's finest papers, yet your disregard for the reality of how homosexuals are treated in Britain today is  inexcusable.

There is no possible way you can justify suggesting that gay men and women should allow themselves to be the "butt of jokes". The result of this attitude is a society who believes it is acceptable to bully, tease and ultimately discriminate against another individual. It forces many to hide their sexuality out of fear - or in the extreme, lose their lives via abuse or even suicide.

Your position within the media is to respect this and encourage an open British society. Through your response to Clare Balding it is clear you do not accept the responsibility of your position.

I urge you to issue a full apology. Ideally The Sunday Times should devote significant content over the coming weeks to inform it's readers of how it intends to encourage writers and the editorial team to behave more responsibly. Organisations like Stonewall can help you and your team to better understand the issues facing homosexuals so that these incidents do not occur in future.

I shall also be forwarding my comments regarding this matter to the Press Complaints Commission.

Yours


Jeff Melnyk

1 comment:

Gareth said...

Witherow’s whole argument is underpinned by the theory that the homosexual community is “accepted by society”. I would counter that society does not accept the gay community and that to suggest it does, is contrary the experiences of many people.

Witherow’s idea that society lives happily, side by side, also ignores the historic subjugation and prejudice that people have suffered for hundreds of years, merely because of their sexuality. Publicly calling someone a ‘dyke’ is not acceptable in the same way it not acceptable to call a person with coloured skin the “N” word. There is a historical context which should not be forgotten or ignored.

These comments smack of ignorance rather than maliciousness. Inexcusable nonetheless.