- Publish Date
- Saturday, 12 August 2017, 11:59AM
A row has erupted after an LGBT newspaper published an article speculating whether Prince George was a 'gay icon'.
It has faced a backlash with a leading Irish politician calling the piece 'outrageous and sick'.
Online site PinkNews published an article based on social media reaction after the four-year-old prince was photographed with his hands on his face during a trip to Germany last month, the Daily Mail reports.
Benjamin Cohen, the chief executive of the media outlet, described it as "tongue-in-cheek", based on the comments on 'hundreds' of social media users.
But now the site is facing growing pressure to remove the piece after Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice said it was "inappropriate".
The BBC reported he wrote to PinkNews demanding it withdraw the article and asked for an apology.
Mr Cohen told the Beeb he had "no intention" of removing the article at the behest of a politician who opposed the rights of people from the LGBT community.
The original article, written by Josh Jackman, was published last month with the headline: "People think Prince George looks fabulous in this new photo".
He wrote: "Prince George has become a gay icon overnight. The monarch-to-be has always been cute and well-dressed, but one day before his fourth birthday, a photo of him excitedly holding his face changed everything.
"At least, that's what the people - sorry, his subjects - are saying."
The BBC reported Mr Allister said: "Sexualising a young child in this fashion is entirely inappropriate.
"In reality, the photo which prompted the piece shows a four-year-old boy who is smartly dressed and excited about being on a helicopter with his male father and female mother.
"To take an image of a little boy and to fantasise of him being an icon for a life defined by sex is outrageous and sick."
Mr Allister said he was disgusted by the article and tried to refer to the Independent Press Standards Organisation but couldn't as PinkNews had not signed up to its practice.
In a full statement issued to MailOnline, Mr Cohen said: "I'm surprised that Jim Allister is such an avid reader of PinkNews that he spotted a minor article from three three weeks ago to complain about today.
"Despite claiming to have written to me, I have not received any form of communication from Mr Allister, so I was surprised that he decided to issue a press release about a letter before actually having the courtesy to send it to the supposed recipient.
"Mr Allister's letter contains a number of concerning points. He criticises PinkNews for not being a member of the entirely voluntary IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation).
"At present, no national or global UK based digital media only publications are regulated by IPSO but there is a consultation on future regulations underway that PinkNews is participating in. Until this review has been completed, PinkNews and no other global digital media publications are regulated by IPSO.
"At no point did PinkNews state that Prince George is a 'gay icon'- the article merely reported on a large volume of social media posts saying that he was. The article also explored what it means to be a gay icon and referenced other 'gay icons' such as the pop singer Ariana Grande.
"Mr Allister also appeared to claim that being gay is a 'life defined by sex'. This is an outrageous statement. I am gay and about to marry fiancé, something Mr Allister opposes, and I can certainly say that my life is not defined by sex.
"I am also surprised that the media reporting on this story does not mention in its report that Mr Allister is a politician who has strongly opposed LGBT rights for as long as he has been involved in politics.
"Mr Allister opposed the decriminalisation of homosexuality and was the only member of the Northern Irish Assembly to oppose pardons of gay men convicted of offences that would not be crimes today. Mr Allister is not an impartial commentator on this issue, he is a person with a long history of opposing the rights of LGBT people."
Source: Daily Mail