The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) says it has received a number of complaints about Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail columnist who wrote a controversial article about a transgender teacher in December of last year.
The teacher in question, Lucy Meadows, was found dead in a house in Lancashire last Tuesday.
Meadows contacted the PCC in January to complain about the way she had been treated in the press after her gender transition was made public by a local paper and then the wider national media.
However, it is understood the complaint was not specifically against Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, but of wider press practices.
Last December, Littlejohn wrote about Meadows in a column, which claimed her transition would be too “challenging” for children – even though the teacher’s school in Accrington had given her its full support.
Littlejohn also said of Meadows: “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job.”
Lancashire Police have said that there were no suspicious circumstances arising from Meadows’ death, and no link has been made between Littlejohn’s column and her death.
On Monday, the PCC said: “The commission has received a number of complaints about this article following the death of Ms Meadows last week. We are able to inform you that the commission has previously investigated a complaint about this coverage following publication of the article, and the matter was resolved. However, we are unable to provide further information at this stage.”
The PCC then cited the Editors Code of Conduct in its response: “The first point for the commission to decide with regard to the complaints it has recently received will be whether it can take forward a further complaint under Clauses 3 (Privacy), 4 (Harassment), 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) or 12 (Discrimination) from individuals who are apparently unconnected to Ms Meadows or her family.”
The PCC added: “I hope you will understand that this is not purely for procedural reasons; rather it is because the family of Ms Meadows would appear to be best placed to inform us of the impact the article had on her.
“According to the PCC’s standard procedures, it would be for the family to say whether they have concerns about the article and to make a complaint; we must, primarily, respect their views on the subject.”
The commission added that currently the family of Lucy Meadows have not registered a complaint with the PCC about Richard Littlejohn’s article.