Moir apologises for Gately article

By Emmeline Saunders

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir, whose article last week about the death of Stephen Gately provoked a record number of complaints to the press monitoring body, has apologised for her comments.

Writing this week in the newspaper, Ms Moir tells of her “horror” when her column was condemned as homophobic and hateful, and says she “regret[s] any affront caused. This was never my intention”.

To the former Boyzone singer’s friends and family, she “would like to say sorry if I have caused distress by the insensitive timing of the column, published so close to the funeral”.

But the writer continued to ask questions over Gately’s demise, which last week she described as “sleazy” and “unnatural”.

“Stephen was a role model for the young and if drugs were somehow involved in his death, as news reports suggested, should that not be a matter of public interest?

“We were told that Stephen died of ‘natural causes’ even before toxicology results had been released. This struck me as bizarre, given the circumstances,” she wrote in today’s article.

More than 22,000 complaints were made to the Press Complaints Commission, and Ms Moir was forced to issue an apology. She then claimed she was the victim of “a heavily orchestrated internet campaign” as users of social networking sites such as Twitter responded with anger and outrage.

As with last week, Mail Online has today removed advertising from Ms Moir’s page, after Marks & Spencer and Nestle requested it do so.