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Statement from The Royal Gazette

Jonathan Howes, chief executive and publisher of The Royal Gazette, responded yesterday to the furore created after an archived article from more than 11 years ago was mysteriously shared on social media.

The article was driven by an advertisement that highlighted the discrimination against members of Bermuda’s gay community, and the frustration felt over lawmakers’ delays in upgrading the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation.

The advert, which would be illegal today because of changes to the Act banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sought the services of a “homosexual-only” cleaner and was paid for by Claire Smith, who at the time was among a handful of openly gay residents.

Mr Howes said in a statement: “The Royal Gazette has been made aware of a recent sharing of a job advertisement circulating on WhatsApp. This advertisement is from November 2011 — 12 years ago!

“Claire Smith ran the job advert to highlight that the LGBTQ community faced inequality and that discrimination could still happen. The advert was legal at the time and was done to call attention to the Government’s failure to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“In 2011, measures were already in place to make illegal discrimination based on race, place of origin, skin colour, ethnic or national origins, gender, marital status, disability, religious beliefs or political opinions.

“In 2013, efforts to amend the Human Rights Act making it illegal to treat people unfavourably because of their sexual orientation or family status were successful. Unfortunately for the LGBTQ community, discrimination still exists today and the sharing of this advertisement without historical context is misleading.

The Royal Gazette would not endorse or allow an advertisement that allows any form of discrimination. Our editorial and advertising teams have quality controls to ensure this cannot happen. It is our view that human rights matter. Moreover, it would be a breach of the Human Rights Act for such an advert to run today.

“Our values continue to demonstrate our diversity and respect for the community, and push the conversation forward for equal rights for all.

“I would like to remind the community that, with the rise of bots and fake news, not everything on social media can be believed at face value — and without the context of the story originally run from November 25, 2011, a post can be taken completely out of context.

“Wider social-media sharing can cause damage to individuals, impact/impede active legal court cases, and in some cases activity on social media can be punishable by law or risk loss of employment. We ask that you be mindful of what you share without verifying the contents.”

Dexter Smith, Editor of The Royal Gazette, added: “We cannot determine who shared this story, why they decided to do so at this particular time, or if there was any malice intended. But regardless of the intention, it is an opportunity to shine a positive light on the experience so that it may serve as a reminder that discrimination in all its forms is abhorrent. Our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community have suffered long enough.”


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Published February 08, 2023 at 1:49 pm (Updated February 08, 2023 at 1:49 pm)

Statement from The Royal Gazette

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