PinkNews Exclusive
The editor of the Financial Times (FT), has told of how distributors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) removed a list of gay business leaders and allies from the paper, for fear of legal rebuttal.

Speaking at an OUTstanding reception, held in celebration of LGBT business leaders, Lionel Barber reiterated a commitment by the newspaper to stand for all minorities, including LGBT people, and said he thought times were changing.



The FT published the OUTstanding Top 100 Business Leaders list worldwide, but the supplement was removed from the newspaper in the UAE by distributors who feared legal challenge.

Mr Barber said: “We are proud to publish this report, we are going to be bigger and better next year – this report is published online, worldwide. It was also published in all corners of the world. It was meant to be the worldwide publication.

“In once instance, in the UAE, our distributors chose to take the view that they would be open to legal challenge, and therefore did not publish it. We will deal with that, we will talk to them. But I just want you to know that the FT, 126 years old this year, under its editor, me, is committed to publish material as our masthead says: ‘Without fear and without favour’.”

Homosexuality is currently illegal in the UAE, where Shariah Law applies.

Last night’s reception celebrated the global publication in the Financial Times of the OUTstanding Top 100 LGBT Business Leaders and Top 20 Business Allies, and was hosted at Deutsche Bank.

The full speech is available to read below

I must say I am extremely proud, not just to be the editor of the pink newspaper, but I am also very proud to be the editor of a news organisation that has published its second worldwide executive diversity report.

I must confess ladies and gentleman that last week when the picture of two men kissing was shown to me, and I was asked ‘do you have a problem with this’, I thought ‘well not really, but maybe one or two of my readers…’ but then I thought ‘what the hell’.

More from PinkNews

Stars You Didn't Know Were Gay Or Bisexual The Stars You Didn’t Know Have An LGBT Sibling The Straight Stars Who Went Gay For Pay

I honestly think that attitudes, not just in this country, are changing. They are not changed, they are changing. And two very good friends of mine who are distinguished lawyers, who went to the US Supreme Court and won that ruling on marriage equality, and talking to them and understanding how that ruling and what they have done has changed attitudes is really inspiring.

That’s another reason that we want to be helping, and at the centre of this debate.

A couple of other thoughts – executive diversity – why did we choose this name? Because if executives don’t take a lead against prejudices, then change won’t happen.

You can’t expect people lower down the ladder who are worried about coming out, about discrimination,about career prospects, you can’t expect things to change, unless executives lead.

The second reflection is that – a mark of a modern society – a mark of an advanced democracy – is one that protects and defends minorities. All minorities.

We do not live by the tyranny of the majority, and that is another important reason why LGBT and other human rights need to be defended.

To conclude, we are proud to publish this report, we are going to be bigger and better next year – this report is published online, worldwide. It was also published in all corners of the world. It was meant to be the worldwide publication.

In once instance, in the UAE, our distributors chose to take the view that they would be open to legal challenge, and therefore did not publish it. We will deal with that, we will talk to them. But I just want you to know that the FT, 126 years old this year, under its editor, me, is committed to publish material as our masthead says: ‘Without fear and without favour’.




Read This: The Celebrities That You Didn’t Realise Are Gay