Sky: apologise for your coverage of the Orlando shooting

Sky: apologise for your coverage of the Orlando shooting

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In the early hours of Sunday morning, Omar Mateen stormed an LGBTQ club in Orlando, Florida, killing 50 people and wounding 53 others. It was the worst mass shooting in US history, and one of the worst hate crimes against LGBTQ people in generations.

As the world reels in shock and grief, the media should be leading the way in helping to make sense of what happened. But instead, huge swathes of the corporate media are refusing to even call the attack what it was: an attack on LGBTQ people, as well as a terrorist attack.

When journalist Owen Jones made this simple point on Sky’s paper review programme, the response was despicable. Host Mark Longhurst insisted the attack was on people “trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality." And fellow guest Julia Hartley-Brewer repeatedly denied Jones - a gay man - the opportunity to speak about the massacre as an attack on people because of their sexuality.

The Orlando shooting was a homophobic hate crime. To try to erase that fact -- and to shout down any marginalised voices who raise it -- is ignorant, insulting and plain dangerous.

Tell Sky to apologise -- and to give more airtime to marginalised voices in its analysis of the Orlando shooting.

Pulse is an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Most of the people murdered by Mateen -- not long after he was reportedly repulsed by the sight of two men kissing -- were Latino/Latina people from the LGBTQ community. As Owen Jones says: “This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people in an LGBT venue.”

Yet Sky -- along with other parts of the corporate media -- is sidelining, downplaying and even erasing this important truth. The attack was an attack on “the freedom of all people trying to enjoy themselves like in the Bataclan,” insisted Sky’s host. The shooter would also have reviled her, as a “gobby woman,” said Hartley-Brewer.

Owen Jones, understandably, ended up walking out of the studio. But we can’t let Sky get away with rewriting history.

The mainstream media has a duty to call out hate crimes for what they are: in this case, a horrendous attack on LGBTQ people of colour. Sky needs to make amends and ensure that this never happens again -- by not only apologising, but also making sure it gives proper air time to marginalised voices.

Ask Sky to apologise now, and give airtime to marginalised voices -- especially those of LGBTQ people of colour -- in its analysis of the Orlando shooting.

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