Dear [Olympic Partner]: The opening ceremony, and The Daily Mail

As mentioned before, I was incensed by the Daily Mail article about the opening ceremony – analysed brilliantly by John Walker – but I thought that mere fury wasn’t enough.  So I wrote a standard form letter (below), which anyone can adapt and send to the communications teams of each of the Olympic sponsors, should they so wish.  I am slowly working through this list myself, and it’s taking a while to find out some of the contact details, but I thought that anyone else who wanted to make a complaint might like template with which to do so.  The list of the official partners for the London 2012 Olympics are at this link: not all of them advertise with the Daily Mail, but the more commercial pressure that is applied to the Daily Mail the better.

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Dear [Olympic Partner],

I hope that all is well with you.  I am writing because I have very serious concerns about a recent article published online by the Daily Mail, which has caused widespread fury among the British public.  Since you may have a commercial relationship with them for the duration of these Games, I feel that the racially controversial content of this article may be a matter for your urgent review.

I, like many millions of others, greatly enjoyed the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.  I thought that, in the course of its celebration of the inclusivity that is British culture at its best, it managed perfectly to embody the three Olympic Values – friendship, respect and excellence – and the four Paralympic Values – equality, courage, determination and inspiration.  All in all, it was a ceremony of tremendous warmth, wit and compassion.

Shortly afterwards I read an article about this triumphant opening ceremony in the Daily Mail, which has been the source of almost unprecedented controversy.  In the course of the article – which has now been deleted from the Daily Mail’s website without any apology for the gross offence that it has caused – the author commented that “[the ceremony] was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up.”  The article, whose content has been thoroughly reviewed at the journalist John Walker’s website, openly mocked the possibility that happy mixed-race families could exist in Britain.  Britain rightly prides itself on one of the most happily diverse societies in the world. The Daily Mail’s article is therefore wholly at odds with statistical data and, equally importantly, with national sentiment.  I also contend that this article is entirely opposed to the key Olympic Value of friendship, is entirely opposed to the key Paralympic Value of equality, and, therefore, is inconsistent with the values of your organisation as an official partner of these Games.

Though this article, as mentioned before, has now been deleted from the Daily Mail’s website, it has been shared among millions of readers on Twitter, and copies of it continue to be shared and distributed online.  The Daily Mail is experiencing very severe damage to its brand, and it is very possible that your brand will suffer damage by association.

As a deeply concerned member of the public, I thought that I would bring this issue to your attention, and I hope that you are able to address it at your earliest convenience.  Given its potential ramifications, I consider that it is a matter of the greatest importance.

With best wishes,

[Concerned member of the public]

 

One comment

  1. Helga Henry says:

    Thank you so much for this article and the incredibly helpful template letter. As the child of a dual heritage couple I too was left despairing at the Daily Mail’s attitude: that they are a bile-filled rag of hate is normal (they hate women especially and it baffles me that they have a female majority readership). This was a new depth of sanctimonious and inaccurate reporting posturing as the voice of “reasonable Britain”. My despair lead to inaction – I felt powerless to protest.

    What I feel so much better about is that you have created a well articulated resource to hit the Daily Mail where it hurts – in its fat self-serving and self-satisfied wallet. I don’t know if brands will abandon the Mail – but at least I know that I will have tried to stem the tide of their bombast and not simply been run over by it. Thanks again.

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