The late Stephen Gately
A newspaper columnist in the UK has come under fire for an article, which has been described as homophobic, about the late openly gay Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.
The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir wrote in the article, about Gately’s recent death while on holiday in Majorca, that “healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.
“And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.”
This despite officials stating that Gateley’s death was as a result of natural causes most likely brought on by heart failure.
Moir also commented on speculation about why Gately and his husband Andrew Cowles had invited a Bulgarian student they had met at a nightclub to the couple’s holiday home on the morning of the singer’s death.
“Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships. Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael,” she wrote.
“Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubling questions about what happened.”
According to the Press Complaints Commission, the article has resulted in a record amount of complaints which caused its website to crash.
The Metropolitan Police in London has also confirmed that it has received a complaint from a member of the public about the column.
The furore has resulted in some Daily Mail advertisers, such as Marks & Spencer and Nestle, distancing themselves from the column and its content.
Meanwhile, Moir has said in a statement that “I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones”.
“When I wrote that ‘he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine,’ I was referring to the drugs and the casual invitation extended to a stranger, not to the fact of his homosexuality.
“In writing that ‘it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’ I was suggesting that civil partnerships – the introduction of which I am on the record in supporting – have proved just to be as problematic as marriages.”
Moir said that she believed that she was the target of “a heavily orchestrated internet campaign”.