A Daily Star columnist has been accused of tastelessness and homophobia for a remark about Ricky Gervais’ recent weight loss.
Joe Mott wrote in Sunday’s edition that if the actor was gay, it would be assumed he had AIDS.
Mott wrote: “Not being bad, but if Ricky Gervais was homosexual, you’d be wondering if he was, you know, ill. His dramatic weight loss has left him looking like a dying man.”
His column sparked anger from bloggers and twitter users, who accused of him insulting gay people, the overweight and those with HIV in one fell swoop.
Many called him “moron of the week” while one user wrote: “Joe Mott, of slept-with-Sarah-Harding fame, should be ashamed.”
HIV charities said they were appalled at the comment.
The National AIDS Trust said it would demand an apology from the newspaper.
Chief executive Deborah Jack said: “NAT is appalled that a national newspaper has printed this. Not only is this blatant homophobia but the insinuation that if he was gay then he’d have HIV, and that you can tell someone has HIV just by looking at them, is inaccurate, highly stigmatising and unacceptable.
“NAT will be following up with the Daily Star on this article and seeking an apology.”
Lisa Power, policy director for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “This is a crass and outdated point of view. The implication that gay men with HIV all look like they’re at death’s door shows Joe Mott is seriously behind the times, which for a journalist is concerning.
“Terrence Higgins Trust has spent a long time fighting the stigma around HIV, and we really thought we’d seen the back of this kind of ignorance.”