A columnist from The Sun, Katie Hopkins, has come under criticism for playing down Tom Daley’s coming out, saying it would be easier for a diver to come out than a footballer, and suggesting his coming out was crafted by his PR team.
The controversial columnist has been in the media recently after being dropped from a television appearance for a joke she tweeted about Scottish life expectancy shortly after the death of nine people in a helicopter crash in Glasgow.
The former contestant of the Apprentice, described Daley as an “irritating twerp”, suggesting it was his own fault he had to move schools after being bullied.
Her article in the sun was titled “others won’t dive in”, and goes on to suggest that other sportspeople will not follow Daley’s example of coming out.
In today’s column, she started by saying “popularity seeking minor-celebs”, were using the opportunity to get themselves in the spotlight though congratulating him and that she did not plan to do the same.
“I wish Tom all the best and it is great he is happy. But with respect, this was never news,” she wrote.
Noting that Gary Lineker had said he hoped footballers, and other athletes would be encouraged to come out following Daley’s example, she said: “If I was a footballer, I’m not sure I would be that excited about telling everyone I was gay.
“However, synchronised diving is only a hop and a skip away from ballet – so the journey Tom had to take was not such a tough one.”
She also astutely notes that Daley did not use a term to describe his sexuality, but attributed that to a campaign by his PR company wishing to cast a wide net for his fan base.
“What we can safely say is that his PR company are keeping their options open and want Tom to continue to appeal to as wide a market as possible.”
Speaking in a Jonathan Ross interview which will air this Saturday, during which he discusses his boyfriend, but does not name who he is, Daley said: “To be honest, everything is all pretty new and I don’t see any point in putting a label on it – gay, bi or straight.”
This is not the first time Hopkins has set her sights on Daley, as in a brief column on her website published on August 27th, 2009 (now deleted), she suggested that it was his own fault that he was forced to move schools after being bullied, describing him as an “irritating twerp”.
She also caused controversy this week when she accused Nigella Lawson of being a “self-confessed drug taker”, and tweeted a joke about the life expectancy in Scotland, shortly after a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow, killing nine people and injuring dozens more.
She was subsequently dropped from appearing on ITV’s Daybreak, and apologised, claiming the tweet was simply bad timing.