Center Parcs has announced it is to stop advertising in the Daily Mail "with immediate effect."
The family holiday village operator has joined several well-known brands in withdrawing future ad campaigns in response to a contentious article by columnist Richard Littlejohn with the headline: "Please don't pretend two dads is the new normal."
The article was penned in response to the announcement by Olympic diver Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Black, who on Valentines Day, shared the happy news that they are having a child via a surrogate.
Anticipating the public outcry that would follow his inflammatory comments, Littlejohn wrote: "Before the usual suspects start bouncing up and down, squealing 'homophobia', don't bother," wrote Littlejohn, adding: "I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman."
Littlejohn's remarks have indeed, caused widespread offence, and the column was described by many readers on Twitter as "homophobic".
Center Parcs issued a statement on Twitter in response to a tweet from a member of the public who, pointing out the article, poignantly asked: "My son so wants me to book at your parks, but how can I do that if you support homophobia?"
Issuing an apology Center Parcs clarified their position on the matter, stating: "We take where we advertise very seriously and have a number of steps to prevent our advertising from appearing alongside inappropriate content. We felt this placement was completely unacceptable and therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect."
Several other brands including Iceland, NatWest, the Craft Gin Club and AutoTrader hae said that in light of the controversy, they are reviewing their advertising in the newspaper.
The South Bank Centre, which has been a long-time supporter of LGBTQ rights, said categorically that while they do not currently have any ad campaigns with the publication, they "have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail."
"We reach out to audiences through wide-ranging online and offline media titles, across the political spectrum," said a spokeswoman for the arts centre. "We monitor the environment in which our advertising appears, to ensure the values of the publication are compatible with our own. We have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail."
AutoTrader said it had asked its digital advertising team to investigate how its ad appeared and added that it "does not endorse this article".
"We have measures in place to prevent our ads appearing next to illegal, obscene or inappropriate content," the company tweeted. "Thank you for pointing this case out to us – our digital advertising team is investigating as we speak."
Natwest posted: "We take this issue extremely seriously. This is not content sponsored by us. Our ads are served up through a third party and we are investigating why they have appeared here."
The response by The South Bank Centre and Center Parcs has been widely applauded on Twitter, while other organisations have been urged to boycott the publication with the hashtag #Stop Funding Hate.
"Well done Center Parcs. This kind of principled action will be good for your reputation, but first and foremost it is the correct thing to do. #StopFundingHate", said one commentator.
Neither the Daily Mail nor Richard Littlejohn have made any comment, The Guardian reports.
In an eloquent post., Dustin Lance Black reacted to the article saying he will not be moved to hate in response to "bigotry and misinformation" choosing to lead instead, with an "example of strength of love."