An LGBT website has rejected claims that it called Prince George a “gay icon”, stating it “merely reported” on social media comments.
The article, published by PinkNews, shows a picture of the four-year-old prince with his hands on his face in a helicopter in Germany last month, It carries the headline ‘People think Prince George looks fabulous in this new photo’.
TUV leader Jim Allister launched a formal complaint over the piece, branding it “sick and outrageous”.
Demanding PinkNews remove the article and issue an apology, Mr Allister said: “Sexualising a young child in this fashion is entirely inappropriate.”
But chief executive of PinkNews, Benjamin Cohen, said he would not be withdrawing the story and queried why Mr Allister had “singled out PinkNews, given that numerous other outlets also covered the social media reaction to the photographs of Prince George”.
He added: “I have to assume that this was because PinkNews has on a number of occasions pointed out the deeply held anti-LGBT rights views that he holds.”
He also claimed that Mr Allister was “not an impartial commentator” on the issue, adding: “He is a person with a long history of opposing the rights of LGBT people.”
Defending the article, Mr Cohen said: “At no point did PinkNews state that Prince George is a ‘gay icon’- the article merely reported on a large volume of social media posts saying that he was.
“The article also explored what it means to be a gay icon and referenced other ‘gay icons’ such as the pop singer Ariana Grande.”
Mr Cohen added that as a gay man, he was personally offended by some of the remarks contained in Mr Allister’s letter of complaint.
Mr Cohen said: “Mr Allister appeared to claim that being gay is a ‘life defined by sex’. This is an outrageous statement.
“I am gay and about to marry my fiancé, and I can certainly say that my life is not defined by sex.”
The original article, written by Josh Jackman and published on July 25, sparked outrage on social media, with many people taking to Twitter to express their anger.
One person tweeted: “Distressing. Prince George is creepily described as a gay icon. He’s a young child. Let that sink in.”
Mr Allister said the photograph which prompted the piece “shows a four-year-old boy who is smartly dressed and excited about being on a helicopter with his male father and female mother”.
The North Antrim MLA and barrister added: “To take an image of a little boy and to fantasise of him being an icon for a life defined by sex is outrageous and sick.”