Paperchase has apologised after a weekend promotion by the stationery company in the Daily Mail sparked a huge backlash on social media.
The chain issued an unusual statement on Monday saying it had “listened” to customers and was “truly sorry”, adding: “We won’t ever do it again.”
The promotion offered Daily Mail readers two free rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, worth £4.75, from the store.
The apology came after a Stop Funding Hate campaign encouraged people to contact Paperchase “urging them to rethink” their partnership with the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail accused Paperchase of allowing itself to be “bullied into apologising” and described Stop Funding Hate as “a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media”.
The Stop Funding Hate campaign group claims its aim is to “tackle the culture of hate and demonisation that is dividing our society”.
The group often targets companies advertising in British tabloids whose politics it disagrees with.
Stop Funding Hate said on Saturday that “many Paperchase customers will be disappointed to see them prominently aligning with the Daily Mail today”.
Paperchase received a torrent of criticism after the campaign posted about the promotion on Facebook and Twitter:
Stop Funding Hate claimed victory on Monday morning, after Paperchase issued its apology.
But many took umbrage at Paperchase’s apology, with some saying they will boycott the stationery chain, urging others to follow suit.
A spokesman for the Daily Mail said in a statement: “The Mail has only run one promotion with Paperchase – who are not an advertiser – and had no plans for any more, so it is disingenuous of them to say it won’t be repeated.
“However it is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising – on the back of a derisory number of Facebook comments and tweets – to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media.
“Has the company considered what message they are sending to the four million people who read the Daily Mail on Saturday, many of whom will be their customers?
“It is one of the fundamental principles of free and fearless journalism that editorial decisions are not dictated by advertisers or commercial partners, and we are sure anyone who values freedom of expression will be as appalled as we are by Stop Funding Hate’s attempts to threaten the Mail and other newspapers.”
Last year, Lego ended its relationship with the Daily Mail following a campaign to stop brands from buying ad space in tabloid newspapers.
It was revealed last year that Lego spend less than £2,500 with the title since the start of 2015, so the toy-maker’s decision to halt the promotion wasn’t expected to hit the publisher’s ad revenues too hard.
As well as the Daily Mail, Stop Funding Hate has also campaigned for other major brands to stop advertising in The Sun and the Express.
Stop Funding Hate received a flood of support in the wake of tabloid media coverage of the Calais child refugee story and the High Court Brexit decision.