MIDDLE Eastern Broadcasting Center (MBC) has been forced to apologise after it published a 'gay list of shame' article featuring a number of high profile names, including Daniel Radcliffe, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan and more.
Asides from the obvious ethical issues that arise from implying to an impressionable audience that homosexuality "shameful" - or falsely "outing" famous people - the article wrongly cited the Harry Potter actor as gay, Diaz as bisexual, and incorrectly claimed that Elton John wore a wedding dress to marry his long-term partner David Furnish earlier this year.
Ricky Martin, Jodie Foster, Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris were also among those targeted in the piece.
MBC provides current affairs and entertainment news to over 150 million people in the Arabic-speaking world.
The article in question appeared in a segment called 'Scoop With Raya' on the broadcaster's website MBC.com. The segment is apparently fronted by Raya Abirached, who is a presenter for Arabs Got Talent - the Middle East's answer to Simon Cowell's talent show franchise.
Since the list's publication - and in the broadcaster's lengthy apology - MBC has gone to lengths to stress that the list was "clearly not related to neither [sic] the presenter of the show.. nor the show itself[sic]."
Instead, it blamed a junior editor who had first published it for failing to fact check properly and for plagiarizing the piece from "another Arabic website without factual verification of the article". The original article can still be viewed here.
"One of the junior editors of the website published an article offending some of the big Hollywood celebrity names, which by no means was reflective of the sites [sic] editorial policy nor point of view, without prior verification of the facts of the story plagiarised from another official site, ultimately offending a list of popular celebrities loved and followed in the Arab world," the apology reads.
"Regretfully, the editor in question had plagiarised the news off [sic] another Arabic website without factual verification of the article, therefore going against two of the major pillars of journalism: cross checking the validity of the news; and discrediting and not attributing the actual site from which the news was retrieved, causing a ripple effect of disciplinary action and investigative measures from the website's end towards the employee in question, who is now on probation, and continues to investigate any other source that reflects the same with such irresponsible behaviour.
"Mbc.net apologises from its readers and the named celebrities, for the article that was published earlier on the scoop section of the site www.mb.net/scoop, and that is clearly not related to neither [sic] the presenter of the show 'Scoop with Raya', Raya Abi Rached, nor the show itself."