Former UKIP Donor Prints Open Letter Declaring “There Is No Such Word As Homophobic”

The open letter to Libby Purves was published in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

1. Demetri Marchessini, a Greek businessman who has previously given £10,000 to UKIP, today published an open letter in the Daily Telegraph claiming the word “homophobic” cannot “be found in any dictionary”.

Jim Waterson

Marchessini booked a quarter page advert to attack Purves’ column in The Times of Monday 20th January, in which she discussed anti-gay movements in Russia and linked homophobia to religion.

2. He’s really, really, angry about the etymology of the word “homophobic”.

Jim Waterson

“Anyone who uses it is uneducated.”

3. (Cambridge University Press’ dictionary seems to disagree.)

4. He also insists that historic bans on sodomy did not stop men falling in love.

Jim Waterson

5. So who’s the man behind all this?

Demetri Marchessini

This image, labelled “pretty photo”, appears on Marchessini’s website. He claims to have been educated at “Williams College and Harvard Law School” in the United States and describes himself as “Observer, Businessman, Thinker, Writer”.

Last week he hosted an event at London’s Conway Hall featuring Vanessa Feltz entitled “How Equal Are Men & Women?” and billed as “A panel debate between three feminists and a conservative”.

6. But his magnum opus remains this 104 page book on the perils of women wearing trousers.

It’s still available on Amazon.

7. He’s very angry about women wearing trousers.

Amazon / Via

“Trousers are not sexy. Skirts are,” he continues.

9. Last year Demetri Marchessini told the BBC’s Ross Hawkins that he would no longer give money to UKIP.

After being criticised for saying unmarried mothers should be “given a good smack” he explained that the donations weren’t worth the effort: “There’s been such a fuss about what I’ve given it’s a bore.”

10. Libby Purves has responded:

Great giggling at @thetimes about the furious Marchessini buying space (bafflingly) in @Telegraph to refute me on Putin antigay policy...

— Libby Purves (@lib_thinks)

OK, Marchessini is a joke: but persecution, beating, jailing and hanging of young gay men around the world (inc Commonwealth) is not a joke.

— Libby Purves (@lib_thinks)

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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