Jan Moir on Stephen Gately – nearly right


As a Brit why haven’t you written a post today about this Stephen Gately Death Column by Jan Moir in the Daily Mail and all the scandal it’s causing?

Well, OK… Jan Moir’s piece in the Daily Mail about the recent demise of Boyzone’s Stephen Gately was originally titled:

Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death

but has been recently and quietly retitled:

A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .

This sudden change of title may be in order to avoid the wrath of the Press Complaints Commission, whose website crashed, allegedly under the number of complaints she invoked, many of them encouraged by Stephen Fry on twitter (and here).

But those histrionics, aside…

I actually agreed with most of what Moir said.
It was just that her fundamentals were a little skew.

Gately died an unnatural death because he was “a gay celebrity”, not because he was “a gay”.

See MJ, see Keith Ledger, see… the rest of them.

EDIT: Even following the list of comments below, this is taking things too far.

31 thoughts on “Jan Moir on Stephen Gately – nearly right

  1. 12 people under the age of 30 die every week from undiagnosed heart conditions…but don’t let that FACT, together with the official Coroner’s verdict and the Gately family history of heart problems stop you, like Moir, from making ignorant, ill informed and homophobic comments.

    For the record, Stephen Fry, whilst being 2nd most popular twitter person, does not speak for the nation, nor “encourage” people to feel sickened & angered by Moir’s views. Moir arrogantly dismissed those who have complained as being part of an “orchestrated internet campaign”. The fact is, the vast majority of people who take issue with the article do so because she used the death of a man to launch a cowardly & spiteful attack on homosexuality, homosexuals themselves & civil partnerships.

    No histrionics, no “campaign”, no Stephen Fry bandwagon jumping, just decent, compassionate people airing their disgust.

    Moir & people like yourself need to appreciate that many of us don’t regard homosexuality as a cause for concern, rather it is the outdated & dangerous views of bigots that concerns us.

  2. I’m sorry – KEITH Ledger?

    Poor Stephen Gately dying because he was a “gay celebrity”? What the hell does his sexuality – or his notoriety – have to do with developing a pulmonary oedema?

    You are a [really lovely person].

    Comment edited by 6000 to remove horrid dirty language.

  3. @Dominic: your fundamentalist zeal is getting in the way of your ability to read (and I have no doubt that there will be more such comments, soon).

    6000 said:

    It was just that her fundamentals were a little skew.
    Gately died an unnatural death because he was a gay celebrity, not because he was a gay.

    Now, if you pay just a little bit of attention, you can see that 6000 is saying that the “being gay” aspect is not the issue, but rather that it’s the “celebrity” part that is relevant. And in providing that useful FACT (does shouting make it more factual?), you’re proving the point: this happens all the time, but we only pay attention when it’s a celebrity that dies – hence 6000’s reminder of MJ and Keith.

    People like yourself need to appreciate that there plenty of bigots out there with dangerous views – and that nonsensical reactionary bleating like yours doesn’t really aid the cause of undermining those bigots.

  4. Goblin > Aw. Thanks.

    Dominic, Rob, Caravaggio > Please take whatever points you wish from here.

    First things first – let’s set the record straight. At no point have I made any homophobic comment. Read the post again.
    My point was that there are a fair few “unusual”, “unnatural” celebrity deaths. And sure, we only hear about them because they are celebrities, but that aside, they do seem to have a habit of shuffling off this mortal coil at a “unusual” or “unnaturally” young age: I cite two examples in the post. To that you could add Gately and Winehouse (next month, maybe?).
    Moir made the comment that questions should be asked about the interim post-mortem that Gately’s death was “natural”, because he was a homosexual. Moir was wrong to suggest that. Questions should be asked about that initial post-mortem, firstly because an interim post-mortem is just that – interim – and secondly, because celebrities are very good at offing themselves (accidentally, or deliberately).
    I’m sure that although they might not like the results, Gately’s family would want closure on this issue, too.

    As for the Stephen Fry campaign – I have no problem with his raising this issue. But, much like the Ross/Brand/Sachs incident, it sickens me that few complaints are actually made until it becomes “trendy” to do so. How many people actually read the piece before firing their mouths off to be part of the crowd?

    I reiterate: I have nothing against homosexuals. Some of my best friends aren’t celebrities.

    Jacques > Thank you. Brilliantly put, as ever. Based on your comment, I have added emphasis to one word in the post which I hope will make it clearer for the knee-jerks and stop them being quite so jerky.

  5. I once heard a gay author interviewed on a book he had written on gay lifestyles (his name escapes me now, but others may know). He said promiscuity and violence against partners was a common aspect of gay life. He also said most gay ‘marriages’ were very open-ended, with lots of affairs on the side. Would i be accused of being homophobic for reporting this?

  6. Good of you to clear some things up, but I’m still unsure why you maintain that BECAUSE he was a GAY celebrity his death was unnatural. Why is it necessary to state that his being gay and a celebrity is what led to his death. I know you state it’s “not because he was a gay”, but that line infers that he died not because he was gay alone, but that he died because he was gay and a celebrity. Why? What has his sexuality have to do with his death? Was it not your intention to state that he died as a result of a celebrity type lifestyle and not because he was gay? Incidentally, he was a man, he was a gay man, he was a 33 year old man, but he was not “a gay”.

    The post mortem states that he died of natural causes . This is the official medical (scientific if you like) opinion, but you choose, disappointingly, to throw your hat in with an ill-timed, opportunistic, clearly homophobic and simply nasty attack on Stephen Gately, Civil Unions and the gay community by agreeing with most of what Moir says, except some unclear idea that he died as a result of being a gay celebrity and a belated feeble claim of not being homophobic.

    Of course, I must thank you for drawing my attention to Moir’s article, as I’m not a Daily Mail reader.

  7. Balababa > I don’t know. This post actually has nothing to do with homophobia and Jan Moir’s views on Stephen Gately’s being gay. This post was all about how she was wrong to infer what she inferred from the facts that she inferred it from.

    Rob > Nothing to do with him being “a gay” (I chose that phrase from the Little Britain sketch, incidentally). But everything to do with him being a celebrity. He used the media for his benefit during his life, therefore he must expect the media to use him when he pops his clogs at 33. Perhaps not in the nasty way that Jan Moir did, though.
    That age is significantly (statistically, scientifically) below his natural life expectancy, and therefore his death was “unusual”. But to state that it was from “natural causes” is to jump of the Gately family bandwagon. The interim post-mortem gave pulmonary oedema as the cause of death. It did not publicly (as far as I am aware) go on to give a reson for that pulmonary oedema, which could be any one of a million (ish) natural or unnatural causes.

    The only ring into which I have thrown my hat (if you’ll pardon the rather distatsteful pun) is the ring that looks at another aspect of the Jan Moir article, instead of reading it (or not) and then jumping on the “OMG, she’s just had a pop at a recently dead bloke (who happens to have been gay)” bandwagon.
    That she chose to base her allegations on the fact that he was gay was wrong and unpleasant.
    That those allegations should remain because he is a celebrity (straight, gay, bi, TS, TV, IS or whatever) is completely fair.

    At the beginning of the post, I state that I was asked for my opinion on this article. That’s because I’m not a Daily Mail reader either. I’m not sure which is the greater slur – your inference that I routinely read that crap or your wholly unfounded allegation that I don’t like gay people because they are gay.

  8. Oh fear not, a “Daily Mail Reader” is an insult reserved for only the most nasty of people, I simply said that your blogpost had alerted me to the article.

    We agree that dying at 33 is not normal, that Gately’s celebrity lifestyle was a factor in his death is at this time questionable. His death was due to pulmonary oedema which may be drug related or not, but at this time we are told in a statement by Spanish authorities that it is not due to foul play. Further tests are to be conducted and will no doubt offer some clarity.

    I see that you have now italicised ‘celebrity’ in your original post which goes some way to making your statement clearer, but as I pointed out, it’s that inclusion of ‘gay’ before the ‘celebrity’ in your original post that bothered me. That his celeb lifestyle may have led to behaviour that ultimately killed him is fair speculation and if it was written so I would have agreed with you.

    In your original post you also said:

    “I actually agreed with most of what Moir said.
    It was just that her fundamentals were a little skew.”

    Then you went on to disagree with the bit about celeb not gay, which must leave me to understand that you agree with the rest of what she said, including the part about “strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.” and “Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one.” and “Once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.”
    See where my problem is?

    I am very proud of my almost 4 year long civil partnership, for that was the earliest we could legalise our decade long relationship and to read Moir’s article including an attack on civil partnerships, trying to make our loving, caring and supportive relationship into something seedy and unworthy is deeply offensive and to read that a respected blogger agreed with most of what she wrote, upsetting.

    This Moir woman is a serial nasty article writer and this article, for many (myself included), can only be interpreted as homophobic as well as nasty. I hope that you can see where your agreement with most of what she said could lead me to my conclusion, now amended, as per:
    “I reiterate: I have nothing against homosexuals. Some of my best friends aren’t celebrities”

    Me thinks perhaps you actually agreed with very little in her article.

  9. Rob >Please. You must read what I wrote.
    I was making a comment about the nature of Stephen Gately’s death. And in that, at least, I agreed (and still agree) with Moir that there may well be something more in it than meets the eye. Be that yours, mine or the Coroner who did the interim post-mortem.
    But, I then state that her fundamentals are skewed.
    Namely, that the fact that she based those suggestions on the fact that Gately was homosexual were wrong. My feeling was that they should have been based on the fact that he was a celebrity.
    It is unfortunate and unnecessary that you somehow then extrapolate something that you have misinterpreted (for whatever reason) into your allegations that I disagree with civil partnerships and/or homosexuality and/or homosexual individuals.
    No need.

    In short, you are reading far too much into this post. My feeling (and it is just my feeling, because this is just my blog) is that Moir is correct that there may be something a little dodgy about Gately’s death. Because he was gay and did the things that gay people do? No. Because he was a celebrity and did the things that celebrity people do? Yes. Quite possibly.

    I understand your sensitivity over this issue, based on what you have written in that last comment, but I think you have missed my point on this one.

  10. I did indeed read what you wrote. Your original post, in it’s unedited form, could be (and was by myself) interpreted differently to what you meant. Your edit and clarifications have us on the same page. As I said in the closing lines of my last comment, I amended my position and understanding after your clarification that you didn’t in fact agree with most of what Moir wrote.

    My last comment was actually an explanation of how and why I had initially misunderstood your point, but that post edit (with explanations), I now get your point. My sensitivity to the subject possibly making me jump to conclusion too quickly considering my respect for your writings, opinions and clear thinking on topics varied.

  11. Rob > I’m glad we are finally understanding one another – whatever the reasons we didn’t in the first place. I maintain that I do agree with most of what Moir wrote, but agree that I could have made it clearer that I meant that I agreed with most of what she wrote about Gately’s potentially “mysterious” death, and not her reasons for thinking what she thought.

    Oh christ – I think I left the iron on…

  12. Makes me smile when l see “As a Brit why haven’t you written a post today about this Stephen Gately Death Column by Jan Moir in the Daily Mail and all the scandal it’s causing?” … errr Gately was Irish, Dublin born and bred? Where, may l add, homosexuality is tolerated at best.

    lf it wasn’t for his death he would’ve remained in virtual obscurity. Musically, the existance of Boyzone added absolutely nothing rememberable. We aren’t talking here of a Lennon, Hendrix, Cobain, Jackson etc so what else can the media report on?

    He made the news because he was a celebrity, and yes, because he was homosexual and the lifestyle he led. This includes his ‘marriage’ that caused a deep rift within his family concerning his partner and in no small part the continuing views held by the population of Eire regarding homosexuality. He didn’t come out of the closet by choice, he was left with no alternative due to an impending press exclusive ‘tells all’ from a former lover or associate.

    l note on a facebook campaign that he’s been elevated to a Princess Stephen and all that goes with it. l have no doubt that Gately’s family just wish they’d stfu as now more skeletons will be revealed because of the campaign against the DM and Moir. l say campaign but in the majority of cases it is more of a witch hunt far more vile than anything Moir is interpreted to have said.

    l feel sorry for Gately and his family … not for the DM article but for the way he’s being used by others as a figurehead for their own selfish agenda.

  13. Spartan > The Daily Mail is, sadly, British.
    I do agree with you in part – the reaction to this article has gone over the top. Even having re-read it, I can find nothing that warrants it being reported to the police. Seriously, who did that – and why?
    It may be unpleasant, bigoted, distasteful – but it stops well short of being hate speech. So yes – a matter for the PCC, but not for a PC. One has to wonder exactly on what grounds the police need to be involved in this. What a waste of their time and effort – and yes, perhaps an indication of the “witch hunt” that you mention.

  14. Why exactly is Moir’s article “unpleasant, bigoted, distasteful”? Me thinks thou dost protest too much. The point is, surely, that celebrities court the media when it suits them, but attempt to censor it when it probes into an area that is uncomfortable for them. How many times has the ‘real truth’ come out at a later date – it makes us naturally suspicious and it’s journalist’s job to ask the tricky questions. Why soft pedal around the issue just because the men involved were homosexual? I didn’t find her article covertly homophobic at all.

  15. “”Celebrity. The pursuit of the talentless, by the mindless. It’s become a disease of the twenty-first century. It pollutes our society, and it diminishes all who seek it, and all who worship it”

  16. Balabala > I think it makes wholly unfounded allegations and jumps to wholly unfounded conclusions about his death and about homosexual relationships. What Moir describes as “sleazy” and “unnatural” are only sleazy and unnatural because they don’t fit her stereotype of how a loving relationship should work.
    It also suggests that civil partnerships don’t work, based on the suicide of a bloke who wasn’t in one and Gately dying last week – a death that might have been caused by his being a celebrity. Again, that’s a bit of a stretch, for what reason?

    I do, however, agree on you point that celebrities only want the media around when it suits them. And I was impressed by your use of the word “probe”.

    Spartan > If Oscar Wilde had said that (albeit that it would have been impressive that he foresaw the 21st century’s issue with celebrity), it would have been a great quote.
    Sadly, this comes from a rather crappy BBC drama series.
    Still valid, though, I guess.

  17. Alas GF Newman was not John Mortimer but be that as it may, wisdom comes from some such unlikely sources … intentional or not. 😉

  18. What’s small, brown & very relieved?


    [Comment edited by 6000 for reasons of it being a bit naughty]
    [But still rather amusing]

  19. ” I actually agreed with most of what Moir said.”

    oh really? Please do tell us what you agree with?

    Her snide hateful comments full of vitriol?

    If that kind of behaviour is condoned in “civilasation” then you can keep it!

    Yes this may be a backwater third world country to you but newsflash, we don’t need you! [RUDE WORDS]

  20. DW > I have no comment. At all.

    Vince > “Newsflash” Several things.
    1. Read the post. All of it.
    2. Read the comments on the post. All of them.
    3. Read the rest of my blog. As much as you can manage. Do it in stages if it’s easier that way.
    4. Try to spell “civilisation” correctly. If you need assistance, it’s written all over your screen while you’re on my site.
    5. “That kind of behaviour” isn’t condoned in “civilisation”, that’s why you’re even aware of it, sweetie.
    6. You have no idea if you need me or not. I could single-handedly be holding the national economy together, I could be the petrol attendant filling your car tomorrow morning. I could be the paramedic that saves your life tonight. Although if you need to have your life saved this evening, then you probably won’t be driving in the morning. And I’m busy writing South Africa’s premier blog, anyway. Bummer.
    7. Please don’t use rude words – my mum reads this blog.

  21. Wow, some of these comments are fit for Oprah. Talk about over-dramatic.

    Oh and don’t be mean to Amy. Her substance abuse has aided her crackly voice.

  22. ctguy > I was thinking more Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
    And I saw Amy live in 2003, before all her problems. Wow. She was amazing.
    Great voice, nice veins, no tatts.

  23. Since the BBC has chosen Cape Town as their 2010 broadcast base, for some reason, I thought you would have a blog entry with your famous quote at skyscrapercity.com : “Has anybody bothered asking the broadcasters where they want to be based?” in response to the choice of Nasrec in Soweto in Jhb as the broadcast centre for 2010.

  24. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/earticle/7588/

    It isn’t too strange, then, when Moir does the same, steadfastly refusing to ignore the collateral and bits and pieces of iconography that surround Gately and his death. As she writes, the circumstances surrounding his death were ‘a little sleazy’, just like the hotel-room antics of many Brits who decamp for a week or two to Spain. Gately and his partner brought a Bulgarian tourist back to their room, and the two latter guys (most probably) got into some man-ramming in the lounge area while Gately went to sleep. Sounds like a fun and really quite typical young people’s night out while on holiday in a foreign country.

    Leave a Reply