Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’

Paper joked it had 'long supported campaigning for the environment'

A socialist newspaper has received calls to apologise after it ran an article claiming that the recent mauling of an Eton schoolboy on an Arctic expedition was “another reason to save the polar bears”.

Horatio Chapple, 17, was sleeping in his tent on an adventure holiday to the remote Svalbard islands when the starving animal ripped it open and dragged him out, inflicting deadly injuries to his head and torso.

An inquest is currently underway looking into the circumstances of the boy’s death – and the Socialist Worker ran the news under the headline: “Eton by bear? The inquest begins”.

Screenshots of the article with its “incredibly tasteless headline” were shared by incredulous users on Twitter.

Yet to make matters worse, the last two paragraphs of the story read: “Troublemaker has long supported campaigning for the environment.

“Now we have another reason to save the polar bears.”

Read more:
Horatio Chapple killed by bear after camp's security measures failed
Svalbard expedition leader ‘gouged bear’s eyes as it bit his head’

Adrian Weale, a writer and officer with the Army Reserve whose son was in the same year as Horatio at Eton, described the teenager as “a well-liked and successful boy” and called the Socialist Worker’s conduct “despicable”.

He told The Independent: “As a parent, I can only imagine the pain his death must have caused to his family. That the Socialist Worker thinks the violent death of a child is a fit subject for humour indicates a level of depravity and insensitivity to the suffering of others which is surprising.”

“The Socialist Worker should, at the very least, make a full and unreserved apology to the family and the Socialist Workers' Party should immediately disassociate itself from this article and its author.”

The article appears all the more shocking given the fact that the Socialist Workers Party’s own national secretary, Charlie Kimber, is himself reported to be an Old Etonian.

And Mr Weale said: “Who knows how Horatio's life would have turned out? There are more than few ex-public schoolboys and girls in the ranks of the SWP and I doubt that many of them would think that the killing of one them or their siblings by a sick animal had anything much to do with their supposed class war.”

Angry social media users described the article as “vile” and “a horrid celebration of young man's death”, and the author and broadcaster Bobby Friedman accused the Socialist Worker of “thinking it's ok to laugh at a child dying because he went to Eton”.

The writer and musician Sean Fleming tweeted the Socialist Worker saying: “The Troublemaker (column) piece about Horatio Chapple is beyond appalling. As a socialist and a worker, you don't speak for me.”

A spokesperson for the Socialist Worker was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Independent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before