Huffpost UK uk

The Sun Newspaper Faces Calls To Pull Bizarre 'Devil Boy' Front Page Story

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: More Than 5,000 People Sign Petition Against The Sun After 'Devil Boy' Front Page Story

The Sun has provoked a furious reaction with its lead story Tuesday after associating a little boy with the Devil in an Omen-esque front page.

The paper faced a fierce backlash and accusations of "going on a witch hunt" after publishing the story entitled: "BOY, 4, HAS MARK OF DEVIL," with even MPs calling on the story to be pulled.

the sun

"A sinister Satan sign that mysteriously appeared on a four-year-old boy is proving a devil to explain," the story starts, accompanied by a picture of the boy, and his stony-faced mother.

His "shocked" mother reveals her horror that her young child has clearly been cursed by some evil spirit, rather than, perhaps, there being a more plausible explanation for the mark.

"Just looking at it made me shake thinking something unnatural had visited my boy," the mother said.

"Something or someone made the sign on him but we just can't explain how."

the sun

Samuel and Sharon

The family, who are "desperate for the truth" and "confused and frightened" by the mark, have looked into explanations including that it could be the result of an alien abduction, or the Symbol of Mammon - the sign of the Devil's first born.

The mother shared the image of her child on Facebook for all her friends to see before turning to the national newspaper for answers.

"You see this kind of thing on scary sic-fi films, It isn't supposed to happen to families like us," she said.

GP turned Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, reacted angrily to the story, branding it "damaging" and demanding that the paper pull the article.

Speaking to the Guardian, Wollaston said she would be referring to the story to the Press Complaints Commission. "It is a completely outrageous headline, and to link that with an identifiable picture of a child is wholly inappropriate on every level," she said.

"This is absolutely not lighthearted. What possible justification can there be for including this child's face, or for saying this child is marked by the devil? It is the most irresponsible piece of journalism I have seen for a long time."

When contacted by the Huffington Post UK, the paper said it would not be responding to the MP's comments.

The Labour MP Tom Watson, well-known for disliking Rupert Murdoch's tabloid, also tweeted his disgust.

Others commented that after child abuse deaths, such as the tragic case of Victoria Climbié which was partly motivated by a fear of satanic possession, the reporting was irresponsible and dangerous.

As The New Statesmen's Media Mole queried: "Should we really be encouraging the idea that children can have devil's marks, even as a silly season joke?"

Others speculated that the mark could simply be a hairdryer burn:

A spokesman for the Sun told the Guardian: "This was a story provided by the parents, who had already publicised the pictures and story on Facebook. We sought to treat it in a lighthearted fashion, highlighting the apparently fanciful link to the occult.

"We are conscious of the code and guidance around paying parents. We did not encourage the parents to embellish or expand the story; it came to us, and had already been the subject of discussion (raised by the parents) on social media.

"It's also worth noting that no concerns were expressed about the child's welfare. An unusual mark appears, the mother gets it checked out by a doctor who confirms there is no medical reason why it should be there, and discharges her. Social workers are not involved."

But many readers commented on the fact that the parents of the young boy "need to take a good look at themselves," and blasted the paper for giving the bizarre story a platform.

The Sun Can't Even Give Away Its Papers For Free – And Now It Could Face A Billion Pound In Fines

The Sun Absolutely Tears Into Ed Miliband After Labour Leader Apologises For Holding Promotional Paper