20 January 2006
By Katie Coyne
An Anglo-Asian entertainment weekly has come under fire for "homophobia"
from gay rights groups and may be forced to issue its second apology in a month.
Desi Xpress first provoked criticism after it published a column describing civil partnerships as "a great way of evading tax".
It was forced to issue a retraction and apology on its website after it received complaints, but the same week printed another column which attacked prominent gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.
The column compared Tatchell to far-right BMP leader Nick Griffin and the head of radical group Al- Muhajiroun, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who allegedly praised the London 7/7 bombings.
Both columns were written by Adam Yosef. In the 9 December issue he wrote: "Hmmm... gay weddings... Gay people and commitment? I don't think so... They'll be shagging the neighbours before they even cut the cake. Bad idea.
Great way of avoiding tax though..."
Gay Action Media Watch (GAMW) lobbied the paper for a retraction and spokesman Stewart C Dawson said: "This type of journalism is offensive and unacceptable, and not only demonises the gay community but panders to ridiculous stereotypes."
Yosef issued the retraction, but then ran a second column attacking Tatchell, which claimed he deserved "a good slap in the face". Mugshots of Tatchell, Griffin and Omar Bakri Mohammed featured in the 6 January column with the words "vile" stamped across them above the headline "hate-filled bigots".
Aaron Saeed, from Peter Tatchell's gay rights group Outrage, described the column as "xenophobic" and "inciting violence and homophobia" and said he was pushing for a full retraction and apology.
Yosef stood by his comments. He said the slap phrase was a "figure of speech"
and he did not condone any such violence. He added that Desi Xpress contained LGBT club listings and events and was the only British Asian publication to actively promote Pride.
Desi Xpress sparked controversy among the Jewish community last June after it published an interview with Bollywood actress Rani Mukherji. In the article, Mukherji was asked to name an idol and replied: Adolf Hitler.
Source: Press Gazette