PCC responds to Mac swastika cartoon

You might remember the recent court case in which a gay couple won their discrimination case against the hotel owners who turned them away because they were gay. Daily Mail cartoonist ‘Mac’ covered the story by drawing the two men as burly thugs covered in tattoos, one of which really did appear to be a swastika. It seems that many people complained, and one of the complainants has now added his response in the comments which I will reproduce here:

In regard to the concern that it was inaccurate to depict a gay man displaying a swastika tattoo, the Commission emphasised that the cartoon was depicting figurative characters and not specific individuals. While it acknowledged the assertion made by many complainants that, given the treatment of homosexual people by Nazis, a gay man would not have this insignia tattooed on his arm, it did not consider that readers would be misled by the cartoon into understanding that homosexual people in general had an affiliation or association with Nazism or that they held similar views.

Virtually all of the complainants considered that the portrayal of the couple in the cartoon, and especially the depiction of a swastika, was in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Code. The terms of this clause state that the press must avoid making a prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s sexual orientation. However, the clause does not cover general concerns over the discrimination of groups or categories of people. Given that the majority of complainants considered that the cartoon discriminated against homosexual people in general, the Commission could not establish a breach of Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

An interesting response, claiming that the cartoon covered ‘figurative’ characters, rather than specific individuals when the cartoon was essentially coverage of a real case featuring two real human beings. The general thrust of the argument is that you cannot insult an individual’s sexuality, but mocking or discriminating against ‘homosexual people in general’ is not a breach of the code. Which I guess suits the right-wing press just fine. Which of course it would, given that the code is written by newspaper editors for newspaper editors.

The PCC limps on, but for how much longer?

9 thoughts on “PCC responds to Mac swastika cartoon”

  1. So basically, they’ve got themselves covered against libellous comments that are easy to be sued for, but can still make sweeping generalisations that tar an entire group of people.

    Because that’s so much better.

  2. So: let’s laugh at The Gayers in general, the Gayers in general are big and scary with swastikas.

    This is fine to do.

    PCC, f***ing useless.

  3. This is the hallmark of pseudo-self-regulation. Exclude everything that people actually care about from the remit, but do it subtley enough that it looks like real regulation.

  4. So the PCC has about as much authority as my mate Charlie. And no disrespect to Charlie, but nobody takes him seriously.

    So, technically, newspapers like the Daily Mail should be able to openly hate Muslims and women and all those others that are discriminated against. OH WAIT-/

  5. Play the “Sauce for the Goose” game on them.

    Make a string of cartoons portraying figurative characters working for the Daily Mail who come over all bigoted and bilious. Inform people who might take an interest that these are not actual journalists, but only figurative ones.

    And if they complain about the mastheadm, change it to the Daily Heil or Daily Fail or whatever. Make sure you’ve got your Daily Heil versions pre-drawn, so all you have to do is just swap the image address in the website anchor – and leave the URL of the original edition lying around for anybody to post online.

    It’s not, after all, being /published./ You just haven’t taken it down yet.

  6. Did the PCC even take the time to write to or question the cartoonist to ask him why he had included the Swastikas? Or did they simply just brush it under the carpet without bothering to carrying out any kind of invesigation?

  7. I did take me a while to find the Swastika in the cartoon. But when I did, it cannot be refuted that it was intended to look like that.

    It was absolutely disgusting for homosexuals to be depicted like that – as big, thuggish Nazis.
    What on Earth were the Daily Mail thinking to publish this, it was certainly edgier than other things that they have done.

    Regardless of whether they had themselves covered by this generalist, sweeping clause of not, it DOES NOT make it morally acceptable for them to publish that.

    Daily Mail, you have really outdone yourself this time.

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