Boycotts Are No Good for Anyone. (Church of England's Call for a Boycott of UK Channel 4's Gay Christmas Television Programming)_ (Editorial)

Article excerpt

Exactly what, we ask, is the Church of England doing calling for an advertising boycott of Channel 4's gay Christmas programmes?

Stung by attacks in the wake of the James Bulger tragedy on its role as moral guardian, the Church (in the shape of the Bishop of Peterborough among others) has swung out wildly at the first thing of which it disapproves. Channel 4, trying to live up to its remit to provide an alternative to the other three channels, copped the full force of episcopal outrage.

Now it is not the place of this magazine to take a moral stance on Channel 4's schedule, though we must concede it is the Church's.

Though a gay Christmas will not be to all viewers' tastes, it is surely a legitimate programming decision to cater specifically for the tastes of an estimated 10%-plus of the UK population. The commercial risk that entails is also presumed to have been worth it. Viewers, as usual, will vote with their zappers.

Advertisers may, of course, choose for any reason or whim not to book their ads into those programmes, and there may indeed be brands that would sit most uncomfortably alongside Julian Clary in full flight. But, as with the recent call by Lord McGregor for advertisers to boycott Mirror Group Newspapers after its little indiscretion with the Princess-of-Wales-in-a-leotard-snaps, the Channel 4 situation is surely not one for the concerted action implicit in the word "boycott". …