Stephen Gately’s civil partner has made an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir’s article on his death.
Gately’s widower Andrew Cowles formally approached the watchdog through his solicitors. According to the Guardian, he cited breaches of accuracy, intrusion into grief or shock and discrimination.
The Boyzone singer died of a buildup of fluid on the lungs while on holiday in Majorca in October. The day before his funeral, Moir wrote an article suggesting his “sleazy” death struck “another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships”.
Her comments led to outrage among gay and straight readers, and won her the title of Stonewall Bigot of the Year.
Although the PCC received more than 23,000 complaints from members of the public, it usually only investigates cases in which a complainant has been directly affected by an article.
It approached Gately’s friends and family at the time the article was published but they have not officially complained until now.
It will now delay findings of the investigation while it focuses on Cowles’ complaint.
In her column, Moir also drew comparisons between Gately and Kevin McGee, the former civil partner of Matt Lucas, despite Gately dying of natural causes and McGee committing suicide after months of depression and addiction.
She was accused of homophobia by many readers but said in a statement: “Can it really be that we are becoming a society where no one can dare to question the circumstances or behaviour of a person who happens to be gay without being labelled a homophobe? If so, that is deeply troubling.”
Moir refused to apologise for the views so many found offensive, instead attempting to explain her comments.
She added: “In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.”