Metro Uses The Word Poof and not in reference to the magic dragon (updated)

Oh dear, its happened again. A number of weeks ago The Metro printed this comic strip:

Whilst not overtly offensive i.e. it wasn’t telling people to go out and burn the homosexual community. I thought it harked back to outdated stereotypes and sparked a large debate here on yourfaceisanadvert and caught the attention of Pink News.

Then after an email was sent to The Metro from Yourface towers pointing them in the direction of the debate sparked here. They then went ahead and posted this cartoon:

Again leaning on old stereotypes and also sounding more than a little derogiroty to gay men.

And they have gone and done it again, these next two images are from one comic strip that appeared in the issue published on Monday 29th of September:

Now this time I do think this is highly offensive. For me the word is just as bad as using the N word to describe a black person and it is not right that a newspaper that is read by so many people can get away with using language like this.

Leave comments below about how you feel. Or go straight to the Metro itself try this email adress and the editor of The Metro is Kenny Campbell and the deputy editor is Dave Monk.

Feeling rather motivated I contacted the guys at The Metro raising my concerns and they sent back a rather nice email which you can peruse here:

Hi David,

Thank you for taking the trouble to write to us about the cartoons in Metro.

We had a number of letters complaining about Nemi’s recent use of the word ‘Poof’ and we printed one in MailMetro. In the context - where Nemi used it when drunk about a man who though he was being gentlemanly by not taking advantage of her when she was inebriated - the only person intended to look foolish was Nemi herself. As such, we didn’t immediately see this as any kind of anti-gay message and I am sure the cartoonist Lise Myhre would be deeply hurt to hear that anyone might think she is.

Nemi is published in 60 different newspapers, magazines and websites in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Given Scandinavia’s reputation for tolerance, I find it hard to believe there has ever been even the suggestion of an anti-guy theme to the cartoon.

I suspect the real problem with this particular strip is that it was translated into English in Norway and the translators are perhaps not completely in tune with all the current nuances of English slang ie they didn’t realise quite how offensive the word ‘poof’ has become a very short time. Of course, our sub-editors here - and myself - should have picked up on this but pressure of time often means you don’t stand back to have a look at the overall picture when you’re concentrating on details such as grammar and spelling. I have spoken to the sub-editors about this particular issue and we will all try to take more care in the future. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

As regard to the perception you have that the cartoons are becoming ‘increasingly offensive to the gay community’, I find that puzzling. Can I suggest that you write directly to me on any future occasion when you feel concern and I will give your feedback to the cartoonist concerned for a response.

Many thanks.

Kieran Meeke
Features Editor