The Daily Mail has hit back at Stop Funding Hate campaigners after Paperchase apologised for launching a weekend promotion with the publisher.
The campaign group tries to convince companies not to advertise in newspapers it accuses of spreading “hate”, targeting the Daily Mail, The Sun and Daily Express in particular.
The Mail on Wednesday accused Stop Funding Hate founder Richard Wilson of publicising his book in the paper in 2006.
It also featured a full page spread hitting out at Stop Funding Hate campaigners and its columnist Sarah Vine separately took aim at the group.
The breakout reads:
“Stop Funding Hate founder Richard Wilson may campaign against the Daily Mail - but he nevertheless chose this newspaper to publicise his own book.
“In 2006, the Mail ran a long extract of the work, about his sister’s tragic murder in a massacre in Burundi in East Africa six years earlier.
“The story ran over three pages under Mr Wilson’s name and picture, alongside details of where readers could buy a discounted copy.”
After being contacted by HuffPost UK about the Daily Mail’s accusations, Stop Funding Hate said in a statement that its supporters have been “subjected to misleading, personalised attacks by elements of the UK media, simply for exercising our right to freedom of expression and freedom of association”.
The statement continued: “On social media, Stop Funding Hate has received personalised abuse, and, in some cases, violent threats.
“We encourage everyone who supports Stop Funding Hate to rise above the abuse, and not to respond in kind.
“We will not be silenced by this behaviour. We will continue to challenge hostile and discriminatory media coverage, and to share information with the public about the companies that advertise in the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express.
“We condemn attempts by the Daily Mail and others to delegitimise peaceful protest by characterising polite consumer engagement as ‘sinister’ and ‘bullying’.”
The Daily Mail repeatedly referred to Stop Funding Hate as “hard Left pro-Remain Corbyinistas” in today’s article.
The group describes itself as a “non-partisan human rights campaign focussed solely on the issues of hate speech, media hate and discrimination” and says it is not linked to any political party.
The group added: “Our long term goal is a media free from hatred and discrimination, that does the job everyone wants it to do: Reporting accurately and fairly, and upholding the public interest rather than undermining it.
“We have no position on any other issue.”
Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine called Stop Funding Hate an “arrogant, tiny minority who want to impose their views on us all”.
Paperchase’s promotion offered Daily Mail readers two free rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, worth £4.75, from the store.
On Tuesday night, Sarah Baxter, deputy editor and columnist at the Sunday Times, said Paperchase had been “bullied” by a “small army” of people on social media to cut ties with the paper.
Speaking on Newsnight on Monday, Baxter said: “It’s a company being bullied by a small army of Twitter and social media trolls into using activism as a weapon against the free press.
“It’s a very, very sad day for an independent media.”
But Stop Funding Hate’s founder, Wilson, hit back, saying: “This isn’t just stuff that people find offensive or disagreeable, this is stuff that’s actually having a real impact in people’s lives.”