Last December, the UK Sun published an annual awards roundup of stories and events that were “hypocritical or worthy of derision.” On that list, the Sun included a story about a woman who says she is in a relationship with a chandelier.
That woman was upset about the article, saying it discriminated and was pejorative, making light of her relationship. Specifically, she was upset that the article asked if she was “dim & dimmer” and that the article said she was married to a chandelier-style light fitting when she says she is in a relationship with a chandelier.
In its defense, the Sun argued the article couldn’t have discriminated against her sexual orientation because it didn’t know of a sexual orientation definition that includes objectum sexual, or sexual orientation to objects. Further, the Sun noted that the woman had given interviews and discussed her relationship with the chandelier, so it was fair to comment on it.
iMediaEthics has written to the Sun and the woman.
While IPSO said it understood the woman thought the article was “offensive and upsetting,” it agreed with the Sun that the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t include any objectum sexual as part of sexual orientation discrimination. Therefore, the complaint wasn’t within the context of its own guidelines, IPSO found in dismissing it.
“The Committee took into account the Equality Act 2010 which defines sexual orientation as a person’s sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of either sex,” IPSO ruled. “The Committee considered that Clause 12 provides protection to individuals in relation to their sexual orientation towards other persons and not to objects. As such, the complainant’s attraction to an object did not fall within the definition of sexual orientation as provided by Clause 12 and the terms of Clause 12 were not engaged. “