Virgin Trains will no longer sell the Daily Mail because the editorial position of the London-based newspaper is “not compatible” with the company’s views on immigration, gay rights, transgenderism and other politically sensitive topics.
The train operator, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group conglomerate, had previously sold the Daily Mail as part of a limited offering of newspapers and magazines on its trains from London to Britain’s west coast.
In an internal memo to employees, Virgin Trains said it would no longer do so for ideological reasons, reports PRWeek.
“Thousands of people choose to read the Daily Mail every day. But they will no longer be reading it courtesy of VT [Virgin Trains],” the memo stated. “There’s been considerable concern raised by colleagues about the Mail’s editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights, and unemployment. We’ve decided that this paper is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs.”
One of the U.K.’s most widely read newspapers, the Daily Mail is known for sensational coverage of British politics, entertainment and international events. The company also publishes a website covering U.S. news, the Daily Mail Online.
The Daily Mail is known in Britain as a generally conservative newspaper and has criticized the BBC for left-wing bias. Liberal activists have accused it of sexist and “homophobic” editorial positions on contentious political issues.
In response to reports of Virgin Trains’ decision to stop selling the Daily Mail because of its political stance, a spokesperson for the newspaper said it was “disgraceful” example of Virgin “censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers,” reports the Guardian.
The spokesperson went on to speculate that the decision was motivated by the paper’s critical coverage of Virgin’s rail service and its sympathy for the Brexit cause, which Branson opposed.
“They [Virgin Trains] informed us last November that to save space, they were restricting sales to just three newspapers: the Mirror, FT and Times,” the spokesperson said. “They gave no other reason, but it may be no coincidence that all those titles, like Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, are pro-remain.”
Virgin Trains is not the only U.K. brand to drop its association with the Daily Mail under political pressure. The stationary and greeting card company Paperchase pulled a front page ad and promised not to advertise with the Daily Mail after a pressure campaign by a group called Stop Funding Hate.
The Daily Mail blasted Paperchase for kowtowing to a “small group of hard-left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate,” according to the Guardian.
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