Newspaper editor: Printing this picture of a gay couple kissing caused readers to shun my paper

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A local newspaper editor says placing a photo of two men kissing on the front of his paper resulted in a drop in sales.

Monday’s edition of the Bristol Post carried last weekend’s arrival of equal marriage in England and Wales, with a joyous image of Mike McBeth and Matthew Symonds, the first same-sex couple to marry in Bristol.

Bristol Post large image

But in an editorial published today, Bristol Post Editor Mike Norton questioned whether he had gone “too far” with the image.

He claimed it had caused sales to plummet.

Mr Norton wrote: “I’m a Bristolian, brought up in South Bristol. Real Bristol. One of the things I love about my home town is how characterful, tolerant and non-conformist its people are. So I thought Bristol was ready for that picture.

“But, boy, was I wrong. We lost thousands of sales of the paper. Which surprised me. Because, on the day, we received just nine phone calls of complaint.

“I’ve asked a lot of people about that picture, friends and relatives from all walks of life and all parts of the city. Absolutely no one I’ve spoken to admits to finding it offensive.

“But, clearly, what people say and what people do are different. Of course, I knew that. But I didn’t think it would apply in this case.

“So – at the risk of attracting every troll in the vicinity – I’ve decided to ask the internet. I want to hear from the people who didn’t buy the paper because of that picture. Tell me why. I ask only that you are reasoned and honest. But I want to start a dialogue and genuinely understand why the picture put you off.”