SurveyMonkey and Travelodge UK are reportedly removing their adverts from a MailOnline article, which falsely claimed that child murderer Ian Huntley is trans, following a social media campaign.
The MailOnline article, published in February 2017, stated that Huntley, who killed two schoolgirls in Soham in 2002, had asked fellow prisoners to call him “Lian,” adding that “reports last month claimed Huntley wanted a sex change.”
It comes after the Daily Star recently removed a April 2018 article, containing similar claims about Huntley, from its website and published a correction in the Daily Star Sunday.
“Huntley would like to make it clear that he does not own a wig, has never asked to be addressed by any name other than his own and that there has never been a plan for him to change his gender identity,” reads the Daily Star Sunday‘s amendment.
SurveyMonkey and Travelodge reportedly removing adverts from MailOnline article
Now, campaign group Stop Funding Hate is lobbying companies to take action in order to stop their adverts from appearing on the MailOnline’s February 2017 article, using the hashtag #StopFundingHate.
The group is tagging specific business on Twitter, including Panasonic and BMW, and providing a link to a Google Ads help page on how to stop adverts appearing on specific webpages.
Two major companies, SurveyMonkey and Travelodge, have indicated on social media that they will take steps to stop their adverts appearing on the MailOnline’s site.
Responding to a post by Stop Funding Hate, Travelodge said on Twitter that it will no longer advertise with the Mail Online.
“The past year has seen horrific levels of toxic misinformation being spread about trans people both in the UK press and online.”
—Richard Wilson, director of Stop Funding Hate
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we have passed the details onto our marketing team who will ensure that any advertising is excluded from this publication – Ben,” said a post from the Travelodge UK account on Twitter.
PinkNews has contacted Travelodge for comment.
Replying to a Twitter user’s post about Stop Funding Hate’s campaign, SurveyMonkey posted that it would stop advertising on the MailOnline’s February 2017 article.
“Hi Rihannon – We have stopped marketing on this domain,” said a post from the SurveyMonkey Twitter account
Richard Wilson, director of Stop Funding Hate, told PinkNews: “The past year has seen horrific levels of toxic misinformation being spread about trans people both in the UK press and online.
“But being a consumer gives each of us a voice. And we know that if enough of us use that voice to urge the companies we shop with to #StopFundingHate, advertisers will respond.
Wilson added: “At a time of increasing polarisation within our society, it’s vital that we stand together and refuse to be divided against each other.
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“It’s been heartening to see so many people taking action over the past few days to challenge misinformation and hate.”
PinkNews has contacted MailOnline for comment.
Similar false allegations about Huntley transitioning were reported by other national newspapers in 2017, including The Mirror, The Sun, Metro and The Telegraph.
Daily Star Sunday retracts Ian Huntley transgender claims
The Daily Star Sunday newspaper published claims in April 2018 that Huntley, who was jailed for the 2002 murders of 10 year olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, was transitioning behind bars.
The article claimed that Huntley had begun wearing a wig and make-up while serving his life sentence in Frankland Prison, and asked fellow prisoners to address him as “Nicola.”
However, the Daily Star Sunday printed a correction on February 10 stating that Huntley told the paper that the claims were untrue.
A correction published by the newspaper on February 10 says: “In the article ‘Sick killer Huntley’s wig stunt’, published on 8 April 2018, we reported that prisoner Ian Huntley had been wearing a blonde wig and asking fellow inmates to call him Nicola.
“We also reported that Ian Huntley intended to join the Transgender Pathway in order to become a woman.
“Ian Huntley would like to make it clear that he does not own a wig, has never asked to be addressed by any name other than his own and that there has never been a plan for him to change his gender identity.”