To the board of M&S – your advertising is fuelling harassment and violence

To the board of M&S – your advertising is fuelling harassment and violence


By: Kevin Smith
Date: 10 July 2017

18222096_10154923176922034_6668857908188378696_nThis is a letter being delivered to the board of M&S today at their Annual General Meeting, signed by 72 different anti-racist and migrant solidarity groups across the country.

To the board of M&S,

We represent 72 organisations across the UK who campaign against racism and for migrants’ rights

Our organisations bring a joint message today as you hold your Annual General Meeting because M&S’s financial support for the Daily Mail is actively contributing to the growing tide of harassment and violence that migrants (including asylum seekers and refugees), Muslims and people of colour are facing on the streets of the UK.

The UK’s media has been singled out as “uniquely aggressive in its campaigns against refugees and migrants,” in a report prepared for a United Nations body. And the chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has said that

“It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers.”

These concerns have been brought to the attention of CEO Steve Rowe, only to be rebuffed by a statement about respecting press freedom. But this is not an abstract issue of respecting the editorial independence of a free press. This is about the very real impact on the lives of people, across the UK, of the divisive and hateful narrative promoted by a specific newspaper, being legitimised, and, in fact financially supported, by M&S.

Daniela Sieff, the great granddaughter of the M&S founder, Michael Marks, described how he was an immigrant who came to the UK fleeing persecution. She has written how her grandfather, Israel Sieff, and her late father, Marcus Sieff, both previous chairmen of M&S, would take a very different position if they were still at the helm of the company. She says that “Marks and Spencer would be withdrawing its advertising from both the Daily Mail and the Daily Express” and that “they would be doing everything within their power to ensure that M&S was at the forefront of the fight against the spread of hate, racism and prejudice.”

M&S is a company which prides itself on its values, of “innovation, inspiration and integrity.”  Today we are asking you to stick to these values by withdrawing your advertising and special offer partnerships with the Daily Mail.


Sondhya Gupta, Sum Of Us

Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now

Zrinka Bralo, Migants Organise

Ros Ereira, Solidarity with Refugees

Harmit Athwal, Institute of Race Relations

Noorulann Shahid, National Union of Students

Fizza Qureshi, Migrants Rights Network

Sunil Patel, Show Racism the Red Card

Black Lives Matter UK

Sheila Mosley, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network

Asad Rehman, War on Want

Kate Alexander, Scottish Detainee Visitors

Sam Bjorn, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants

Zoe Matthews & Sarah Mann, Friends, Families and Travellers

Almir Koldzic and Aine O’Brien, Counterpoints Arts

Leila Zadeh, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group

Sohail Jannesari, Migrant Connections Festival

Jasmin Beck, Migrant Welcome Tours

Andy Gregg, Race on the Agenda

Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

Lisa Matthews, Right to Remain

Henry Chango Lopez, International Workers of Great Britain

Nicolas Hatton, the3million

Gracie Bradley, Schools Against Borders for Children

Roger Casale, New Europeans

Zoe Gardiner, Another Europe is Possible

Naia Bazin Lopez, People and Planet

Mika Minio-Paluello, Platform

Selina Hales, Refuweegee

Rocio Sifuentes, Ethnic Youth Support Team

Max Farrar, David Oluwale Memorial Association

Margaret Ulloa, St Nicholas of Tolentino RC Church

Aderonke Apata, Manchester Migrant Solidarity

James Tullett, Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London

Beth Wilson, Bristol Refugee Rights

Kim Bryan, Mid Wales Refugee Action

Forward Maisokwadzo, Bristol City of Sanctuary

Sue Powell, Kent Refugee Help

Sue Pattinson, Stockport Stand up to Racism

Dave Clinch, North Devon Stand Up to Racism

Fr Richard McKay, Borderlands Charity

María Luisa Llorente, Españoles en Reino Unido – Surviving Brexit!

Sai Murray, Voices That Shake

John Pearson, Stockport United Against Austerity

Ed Lewis, Demand the Impossible

Solidarity with Refugees

African Rainbow Family

Chapel Street Community Arts

Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network

Liverpool Solidarity Federation

Virtual Migrants

Take Back the City

Docs not Cops

Tres Cosas campaign

The Meteor

Steve Rolfe, Global Justice Glasgow

Chris Manley, Global Justice Oxford

David Somerville, Global Justice Bradford

Jackie Oversby, Global Justice Reading

Anthony Twist, Global Justice Shropshire

Natalie Abbott, Global Justice Macclesfield

Chris Brody, Global Justice South East London

Heather Watkins, Global Justice Derby

Aidan Baker, Global Justice Cambridge

Christina Lucey, Global Justice Bexhill and Hastings

Liz Carlton, Global Justice South Essex

Dereck Prentis, Global Justice Worthing

David Hamilton, Central London Global Justice Now

Global Justice Sheffield

Global Justice Bristol

Global Justice Nottingham

Rotherham for Global Justice