Stockport Council has issued an apology today after coming under fire following a tweet which suggested that people treat coronavirus “like your mother-in-law”.
Having to deal with, be civil to, or avoid the in-laws has long-been a topic humorously referred to over the years, but it’s one that Stockport Council has recently seen criticism for after a tweet which was intended as a light-hearted way to get the message about social distancing across to residents.
The tweet – which has now been deleted from the official Stockport Council Twitter account and other social platforms – suggested that “the trick to social distancing is acting like your mother-in-law’s around every corner”, but some felt that it was was badly misjudged.
Criticism expressed particularly referred to its tone as inappropriate and misogynistic in light of evidence that domestic violence against women has soared during lockdown.
Stockport Council has since removed the offending posts and said apologised “for any upset caused”.
Councillor Tom Morrison – who is the Liberal Democrats’ shadow Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods and asked for the posts to be taken down – said it had done “nothing to help combat dangerous stereotypes that have spiked over recent months” and explained his failure to see the funny side by citing a South Manchester domestic violence charity reporting a 160% increase in calls at the beginning of lockdown, as well as the UN describing the issue as a global “shadow pandemic”.
He continued: “This is simply unacceptable, I thought we left these kind of tropes back in the 1970s where they belong,
“Across Stockport Council, women are desperately under-represented. Is it any wonder when the council’s own social media team is putting out crass comments like this? We need to be doing everything we can to encourage more women to get involved in politics, not lumping stereotypes on them.”
He expressed hope for a better future and said: “Stockport Council needs to get it’s act in gear, retract this post, apologise, and clearly stop hiring Jim Davidson to write their social media content.”
A spokesperson for Stockport Council said: “The council has taken down the social media posts [and] we apologise for any upset caused.”