The Guardian apologized Sunday following an editorial that read former British Prime Minister David Cameron only felt “privileged pain” following his disabled son’s death.
Cameron’s son, Ivan, died in 2009 when he was six years old. He couldn’t speak and suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The editorial piece, published Sunday, responded to Cameron’s memoir that will be published Thursday titled “For the Record.”
“This editorial was amended on 15 September 2019,” a note now reads at the bottom of the page. “The original version of this editorial posted online fell far short of our standards. It has now been amended, and we apologise completely.”
The original editorial hit back at Cameron, writing that although he has experienced pain and failure throughout his life, it has been “limited,” according to screenshots from Twitter.
“Mr. Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain,” the original editorial read. “The miseries of boarding school at seven are entirely real and for some people emotionally crippling but they come with an assurance that only important people can suffer that way.”
“Even his experience of the [National Health Service], which looked after his severely disabled son, has been that of the better functioning and better funded parts of the system. Had he been forced to wrestle with the understaffed and overmanaged hospitals of much of England, or had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done.”
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) September 15, 2019
Even with the apology, The Guardian received backlash from many on social media. Darren Grimes, a conservative commentator, wrote “these people are sick” after reading the original editorial.
Anita Singh, Daily Telegraph arts and entertainment editor, tweeted that even though she isn’t “a fan” of Cameron, the comments from the editorial were “terrible.”
I’m no fan of David Cameron but to describe him as only experiencing “privileged pain” when he had a profoundly disabled child who died aged six is a terrible thing to say https://t.co/tYZ1Nnsq4H pic.twitter.com/UBOL5wL79l
— Anita Singh (@anitathetweeter) September 15, 2019
Mark Di Stefano, a media and politics reporter at Buzzfeed UK, highlighted that “just a single line” in the editorial was “amended.” Alex Massie, a columnist for The Times, tweeted that it “is a truly shameful editorial.”
“Disgusting & shameful by the @guardian. They owe Cameron a public apology,” Piers Morgan, an English broadcaster and television personality, tweeted.
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- David Cameron.: Screen grab