Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid is being accused of “blatant sexism” after publishing a photo of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on its front page, drawing attention to their bare legs.
“Never mind Brexit, who won legs-it!” the front page declared, the story inside taking it one step further with the headline, “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!”
Outrage over the sexist cover story was amplified by the fact the leaders had met to discuss vital differences in their approach to Britain’s exit from the European Union, also known as “Brexit,” and a possible second Scottish independence referendum that could forever change the United Kingdom.
The front page was immediately met with backlash from politicians, journalists and social media users alike, spawning the hashtag #Legsit.
“The 1950s called and asked for their headline back,” tweeted former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, including the hashtag #EverydaySexism. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn chimed in, “Shame on the Daily Mail.”
“Moronic! And we are in 2017,” said Labour politicians Harriet Harman.
Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of the Guardian, took a more light-hearted approach, poking fun at the tabloid cover by sharing a picture of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin with the caption “Nice Pins.”
Soon, other social media users chimed in, sharing pictures of their own legs with the phrase “nice pins,” British slang for a “great pair of legs.” Some even directed their tweets at the Daily Mail, asking the tabloid to rate their limbs.
“Hey @DailyMailUK, want to rate my legs also? One voted leave due to Bone Cancer,” one user tweeted.
The Daily Mail did address the controversy in a comment to BBC Tuesday, in a statement which began, “For goodness sake, get a life!”
“Sarah Vine’s piece, which was flagged as light hearted, was a side bar alongside a serious political story,” read the statement, shared by BBC political editor Norman Smith. “For the record, the Mail was the paper which, more than any other, backed Theresa May for the top job. Again for the record, we often comment on the appearance of male politicians including Cameron’s waistline, Osborne’s hair, Corbyn’s clothes – and even Boris’s legs.”
In a briefing with journalists Tuesday, the prime minister’s spokesperson refused to comment on the controversy, stating, “You would not expect me to comment on what newspapers should or should not put on their front pages.”
— With a file from The Associated Press
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