Monday, 17 March 2014

Sky falling in on St Patrick's Day

Regular followers of me here or on my sporting blog will be aware of my love of cycling. But something that has happened as a result of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York has thrown me a moral curve ball.

Guinness decided at the eleventh hour yesterday to pull their sponsorship of the parade in New York. This was after they requested that the organisers allow LGBT Irish Groups to march in the parade. Before others say they are allowed to parade, or that other groups don't march behind a banner, this is not the case. Groups do march behind the banner indicating who there are. Many of Ireland's LGBT people did emigrate some to the UK others to America when those places were less LGBT friendly than they are today. Like all such immigrants to the states they are as staunchly proud of their Irish roots as anyone else.

Guinness as part of their decision said:

"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade.

"As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy."

This is good and a brave decision especially as there was a 1.4% drop in share price of Diageo (the  parent company). However, it is the reaction of one media tycoon that leads to my dilemma.

Rupert Murdoch has said on twitter:

Where will this end? Guinness pulls out of religious parade bullied by gay orgs who try to take it over. Hope all Irish boycott the stuff 

It is a pity that Murdoch appears to be boycotting the 21st Century, I think we should boycott all of his stuff. This is easy as Eurosport cover cycling. But there is one issue. The title sponsors of both the GB Cycling Team (pictured) and the British UCI World Tour team is Sky which of course if out of the Murdoch stable. Most of the top British cyclist race for them, they are coming to Belfast in May for the Giro d'Italia and Yorkshire in July for the Tour de France.

After comments like this from Murdoch I'm going to find it very hard to support my favourites with a clear conscious.


  1. I agree his remarks are highly unfortunate, but not surprising for anyone who knows anything at all about this person.

    Funnily enough, I stopped "taking The Times" less than a week after News International purchased it, which was a great pity as I could no longer read one of my favourite columnists (the late Bernard Levin). That was of course completely disconnected with his views on homosexuality, which I knew nothing at all about at the time, nor of course would I ever subscribe to Sky. Basically I have never read any newspaper nor watched any media (* - but see below) run by companies under his control. His latest remarks about gays (although I have heard a few other reported comments allegedly made by him on this topic in the past) only reinforce my determination to avoid all contact with anything he touches.

    Although I have rigid views on the subject of this man, I must admit even I would not think you should deprive yourself of enjoying seeing the cyclists when they come to NI in a few months; even I occasionally watch SkyNews (* - which is available on Freeview without me having to pay BSB anything) :)

    Good luck.

  2. PS/ Happy St Patrick's Day :)

    Although I have never celebrated it myself, I am in fact 1/4 Irish as one grandfather came from near Cork - if I tell you that he fought in the British Army during WWI, but was not made very welcome when he returned home afterward (given the concurrent events going on in Ireland at the time, which I'm sure you know a fair bit about perhaps), so he emigrated to Scotland - and of course I would not be here had that not happened.

  3. Please never consider Murdochs, father or son, to be real human beings. Never dignify them with a thought, let alone a word.