Controversy after local newspaper gives award to anti-gay letter

Encouraging debate among your readers is something every newspaper wants and the introduction of social media sharing, comment features and blogs on news sites has all added to this quest to engage readers.

But for some a letter published in the Greenwich and Lewisham editon of local title the News Shopper has gone too far. The letter from reader Mrs S Fitzsimons won the title’s Star letter of the week award and she received a prize of a Websters pen. The content of the letter was as follows:

HAVE YOUR SAY: Marriage helps to make society work

YOUR newspaper dropped in our letterbox and I was shocked by the headline Hospital On Sex Website (News Shopper, August 11).

This is meant to be a family newspaper and not some sleazy sex advertiser for the perverted.

Marriage is the thing which makes society work.

This is why we have the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph — to show us man, woman and child is what God asks us to follow.

God gave homosexuals up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions.

Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another.

If we promote anything other than marriage then we shall answer on Judgment Day for it.

Please stop advertising lesbian, gay and bisexual clubs.

You are giving our young teenagers the wrong message and promoting perversity.

Just before you mention equality there is no equality today due to everything being biased towards homosexuality.

Let’s now tell the truth and stop lying to all and sundry.

Letter written by Mrs S Fitzsimons, South Park Crescent, Lewisham

What do you think? Add your comments below.

Websters has distanced itself from the letter, issuing the following statement:

It has come to our attention that the star letter featured in this weeks News Shopper (Greenwich & Lewisham edition) has caused offence to readers. Webster’s Pen Shop would like to reiterate that the views expressed in this weeks News shopper does not reflect the opinions of Webster’s Pen Shop or its staff.

Webster’s has no influence on the content that is published, and is simply a corporate sponsor.

Tweets from the @newsshopper account managed by web manager Simon Bull say that the fact that the letter won the weekly prize does not mean that the paper endorses its views.

The paper asks readers to respond to letters by commenting on the website. Bull added in his tweets:

But how far is too far when stimulating debate?

(Thanks to @darryl1974 for sharing links relating to this issue)

3 thoughts on “Controversy after local newspaper gives award to anti-gay letter

  1. Jon Dennis

    Shame on the News Shopper for printing hate speech under the guise of stimulating debate.

    I remember another local paper, the Mercury, taking a strong anti-Nazi stance when the National Front marched through Lewisham in the 1970s.

  2. Darryl Chamberlain

    The Mercury also did well in its coverage of the New Cross fire in the early 1980s too. Sadly, such vibrant local journalism has disappeared from SE London.

    It’s worth pointing out the News Shopper published the letter – complete with author’s address – on its website *after* the original scan – – caused a storm on Twitter, presumably to try to whip up some page views.

    It’s worth noting that the original scan plugs the News Shopper’s web forums – but there’s no mention of the story there, which poses big questions about the success of their online strategy.

  3. Pingback: News Shopper’s anti-gay reward: The repercussions « 853

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