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Newspaper Column on Boy-Band Death Riles U.K. Marketers

Daily Mail Stands by Its Writer as Nestle, Marks & Spencer Pull Ads

By Published on .

LONDON (AdAge.com) -- A column in the Daily Mail that voiced suspicions over the life and (recent) death of Stephen Gately, a member of the Irish boy band Boyzone, serves as a classic case of the power that communities can wield over the media establishment.

The Daily Mail has so far stood by Ms. Moir, and is continuing to run the article.
The Daily Mail has so far stood by Ms. Moir, and is continuing to run the article.
The article, written by Jan Moir, provoked an angry reaction from 22,000 people who contacted the Press Complaints Commission, galvanized into action by some angry, digital-savvy folks. A Facebook group was set up to rail against the "hateful, homophobic article" and Twitter is still busy with punters venting their anger.

Campaigners published advertisers' telephone numbers as part of a well-orchestrated campaign against the piece. And marketers responded quickly to the pressure.

High Street giant Marks & Spencer asked for advertising to be pulled from the Daily Mail website featuring the controversial column. A spokesman said, "Marks & Spencer does not tolerate any form of discrimination. We have asked the Daily Mail to move our advertisement away from the article."

Nestlé was running an ad for its Nescafe brand next to the article on the Daily Mail's website, but when it made inquiries about pulling it, Nestlé found that the ad had already been removed. The Daily Mail has voluntarily pulled all ads from the page, but Nestlé still issued a statement saying that it "has consistently [emphasized] the importance of mutual respect and tolerance, regardless of culture, religion or nationality."

The Daily Mail has so far stood by Ms. Moir, and is continuing to run the article, along with both supportive and critical comments. The newspaper said that it "regrets the heavy handed tactics by the campaign, which is clearly being fanned by many people who haven't even read Jan's views."

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