Last week, Virgin boss, Richard Branson announced his decision to ban The Daily Mail on all Virgin Trains. Due to the paper's "offensive, discriminatory and provocative language", as outlined by the European Commission against Racism and Tolerance (ECRI) in 2016.
However, the billionaire declared soon after that he would re-stock the newspaper. As "We must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read," he concluded.
The company had banned the paper originally because of the Daily Mail's "brand and beliefs" which were "not compatible" with Virgin, especially when it came to the newspaper's stance on LGBT rights, immigration and unemployment.
Writing on the company's website the Virgin founder explained his decision to restock the paper further, "Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society. While Virgin Trains has always said that their passengers are free to read whatever newspaper they choose on board West Coast trains, it is clear that on this occasion the decision to no longer sell the Mail has not been seen to live up to these principles.”
This shift in approach by Virgin has left many confused and demanding Branson to stick to his initial ban on the paper.
Here at Guestlist, we believe that The Daily Mail has fundamentally misused its freedom of speech time and time again. The paper has constantly proved itself to be highly intolerant and these are the 7 reasons why:
We all know that the Daily Mail is pro-rightwing paper, therefore it is not keen on immigration and typically portrays immigrants in a negative light. Using damaging and false statements such as “immigrant produces C02” to further their agenda. It targets the most vulnerable people by using biased information and perpetuating prejudice.
The detrimental impact of consistently using such harmful language in newspapers such as the Daily Mail has led to the rise in "anti-foreigner sentiment", claims Christian Ahlund the current chair of the ECRI. He adds, “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online..."
This can be seen in 2013 when Lucy Meadows a trans school teacher committed suicide after the paper outed her. Even though Meadows never mentioned the paper's influence on her decision to take her life in a note left to loved ones, activists at Trans Media Watch believe Meadows suffered through "a huge amount of monstering and harassment" due to the attention she received from the Mail's piece.
It was only last year that the Mail published a sexist front page image of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon with the title above saying "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!" The paper has also written several pieces concentrating primarily on what female celebrities and politicians are wearing.
A former reporter at the Daily Mail, Brandon Montague stated: “None of the front-line reporters I worked with were racist, but there's institutional racism (referring to The Daily Mail)”.
The recent coverage of the engagement of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry showed off the paper's racist undertones. For example, one Daily Mail story wrote that Markle who grew up in Los Angeles was "(almost) straight outta Compton".
Another that "Miss Markle’s mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks" and even went so far to write in the same piece that "the Windsors will thicken their watery, think blue blood", with her "rich and exotic DNA".
The Daily Mail has also had several lawsuits filed against them by countless celebrities. From publishing a false story about George Clooney's fiance at the time Amal Alamuddi, to calling Keira Knightley anorexic and claiming that JK Rowling lied about her time as a single mother in Edinburgh.
The Daily Mail is known to use wrong sources and false statements for the purpose of getting public attention. For example, in 2016 they wrongly reported that Lisen Andréasson Florman (a Swedish woman) had been a victim of sexual abuse.
So do you still think that Richard Branson should have changed his mind? Wasn’t it better for him to ban the Daily Mail from all of his trains? We firmly believe so.