The Co-op announced on social media that it would be pulling advertising from The Spectator over alleged “anti-Muslim propaganda” and transphobia — prompting the magazine to ban Co-op from placing adverts with them “in perpetuity” in retaliation.
The clash was seemingly precipitated by a random social media user, @Lisa_Fajita, contacting the consumer co-operative to complain that they had placed an advert with the right-leaning magazine some time ago, after the so-called Stop Funding Hate campaign alleged that The Spectator is “a magazine notorious for transphobia & ‘anti-Muslim propaganda’.”
A member of the Co-op’s social media team who identified herself as ‘Alice’ was soon thanking @Lisa_Fajita “for bringing this to our attention”, assuring the user that the retailer was “currently investigation [sic] this with the relevant teams.”
Shortly thereafter ‘Alice’ blamed the ad on the Co-op’s media buyers, assuring @Lisa-Fajita that “We are taking up the issue with them with a view to them not using this publication again in the future.”
Hi Lisa, this advert was placed as part of a package by our media buyers. We are taking up the issue with them with a view to them not using this publication again in the future. Thanks ^Alice
— Co-op (@coopuk) September 3, 2020
The Spectator, which at 191-years-old is reportedly the world’s oldest magazine continuously in print, did not take this lying down, however, with executive chairman Andrew Neil soon firing back, also on social media.
“No need to bother, Co-op,” said Neil, perhaps best known for his work as the BBC’s interrogator-in-chief, quote tweeting ‘Alice’ directly.
“As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity,” he announced.
“We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor,” he said.
No need to bother, Co-op. As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity. We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor. https://t.co/Iypkk9Pwrb
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) September 4, 2020
Contrary to the accusations from Stop Funding Hate and @Lisa_Fajita, The Spectator is not a particularly hard-right outlet, with much of its output leaning socially liberal and economically neoliberal.
Andrew Neil is also believed to have fired Boris Johnson’s current chief adviser Dominic Cummings from a previous position with the magazine for re-publishing depictions of the Islamic prophet on its website in solidarity with Danish cartoonists being threatened by Muslim radicals, and to have had them taken down.
The magazine does, however, host some politically incorrect polemicists and intellectuals such as Rod Liddle and Douglas Murray — and this alone appears to have been enough to put it beyond the pale for social justice activists and firms engaged in “woke capitalism”.
Douglas Murray Slams BLM Activists in Breitbart Viral Video as ‘Demagogues and Racists’ https://t.co/0T5k5QkJXZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 28, 2020