By advertising in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, John Lewis is funding fear, division and hate.
Buster the Boxer Backs Stop Funding Hate
In 2016 Buster the Boxer starred in the John Lewis Christmas advert, but this year he’s using his fame to call for John Lewis and other retailers to pull their adverts from the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express.
Help him spread the message that Christmas should be a time for joy.
John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose all regularly advertise in the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun – all newspapers that have been called out by the United Nations for their divisive and often hateful content.
“History has shown us time and again the dangers of demonizing foreigners and minorities… it is extraordinary and deeply shameful to see these types of tactics being used… simply because racism and xenophobia are so easy to arouse in order to win votes or sell newspapers” – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2015
These brands spend millions telling us about their commitment to values such as trust, diversity and respect. And this is especially true at Christmas. From Marks and Spencer’s advert featuring Paddington the Bear lovingly mistaking a burglar for Father Christmas, to this year’s John Lewis advert celebrating the love of a boy and his monster under the bed. And there’s nothing wrong with this – Christmas is a time of goodwill.
But it should be a time of goodwill for all. By advertising in papers that demonise refugees, migrants, LGBTQ+ people, women, and many more, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are using our money to divide us.
We spend millions of pounds on gifts at Christmas. So wherever you shop this Christmas, ask them to use your money with love.
The very real effects of hate in the media
When hateful and discriminatory language appears in the media, it doesn’t just stay there. In 2016, Leicester University’s Centre for Hate Studies warned that a wider surge in hate crime against migrants had been “fuelled and legitimised… by the media”, while Cambridge University highlighted that “Mainstream media reporting about Muslim communities is contributing to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain”.
In 2016 the Sun and Daily Mail were accused of “fuelling prejudice” in a report by the Council of Europe that looked at hate speech and rising racist violence. The report highlighted discriminatory coverage not only towards Muslims and migrants, but also travellers and the LGBT community. The authors warned that: “fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety”.
Leading hate crime monitoring organisation Tell MAMA say:
“We see in Tell MAMA how derogatory and anti-Muslim comments are made against members of the public who happen to be Muslim and which reflect terms and statements in major headlines in some tabloids. There are real and direct impacts from headlines that are developed to sell papers and which malign whole communities… Do advertisers really want to be associated with such actions?” – Fiyaz Mughal, Tell MAMA founder.
And that’s why it’s so important that companies see the link between advertising in the Mail, Sun and Express and hate crime. By funding these papers, they’re contributing to fear and mistrust in our society. Christmas should be about goodwill for all – but this should also be true for the rest of the year.