British retailer feels the heat after its advertising links with Daily Mail refugee coverage are slammed by protestors
MARKS AND SPENCER (M&S), the British multinational retailer, has come under pressure from campaigners to end its advertising deals with the rightwing newspaper the Daily Mail.
The social justice organisation Global Justice Now (GJN) has been encouraging customers to hide subversive leaflets and material in M&S goods to raise awareness of its affiliation with the Daily Mail.
It claims that the paper’s uniquely aggressive stance against migrants and refugees legitimises the campaign. A recent UN report showed the UK media is the most anti-refugee in the entire Europe Union.
Aisha Dodwell, migration campaigner at GJN said: “Marks and Spencer proudly proclaims its ethical business credentials and presents itself as a socially responsible company so why are they associating themselves with newspapers that promote hate?
“This isn’t just ordinary hate and racism, it’s M&S-funded hate and racism.” Global Justice Now
“The tidal wave of hatred and mistrust of migrants and refugees in the UK is being stoked and encouraged by purposefully selective and insinuating reporting from newspapers like the Daily Mail. This has huge and real consequences, from the often-violent hate crimes that migrants face on the streets of the UK, through to the child refugees in Calais that the government have decided to abandon.”
The leaflets being distributed by the group contain a Daily Mail headline that stated: “This tidal wave of migrants could be the biggest threat to Europe since the war”.
On the back of the leaflets there is a parody of the famous M&S advertising slogan, “This isn’t just ordinary hate and racism, it’s M&S-funded hate and racism.”
GJN has also posted a link to a website where customers are encouraged to email Steve Rowe, who is the chief executive officer of the retail giant, to raise their own objections.
Dodwell continued: “People are increasingly recognising the responsibility that newspapers like the Daily Mail have for the toxic and hate-fuelled atmosphere around the migration debate in the UK, and they are using their consumer power to put pressure on companies like Marks and Spencer that are financially supporting them to do it.”
“Marks and Spencer proudly proclaims its ethical business credentials and presents itself as a socially responsible company so why are they associating themselves with newspapers that promote hate?” Aisha Dodwell
According to a recent report from the UN, the UK media is “uniquely aggressive” in its views and coverage about refugees and migrants. In the months following the EU referendum, where the UK voted by a slim margin to exit, hate crimes across the UK rose by 100 per cent.
Overall, the UN found the Swedish press to be the most positive towards refugees and migrants, while coverage in the United Kingdom was “the most negative and the most polarised.”
Groups like Stop Funding Hate have been putting pressure on retail brands with strong ethical guidelines to stop advertising in newspapers like the Daily Mail, arguing that, “customers are becoming increasingly aware that by shopping with brands who advertise in divisive newspapers, they are inadvertently funding their own demonisation, or that of their family, friends and neighbours.”
There has been a precedent for campaigns changing the funding and advertising relationships of companies. In November of last year, the toy manufacturer Lego announced it was ending its promotional deals with the Daily Mail over its coverage of migration and refugees.
Marks & Spencer’s corporate team were contacted by CommonSpace referring the matter to their Scottish region office. No comment was forthcoming after repeated inquiry.
Picture courtesy of Global Justice Now
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