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University Challenge winners announce boycott of Daily Mail

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This year’s University Challenge champions have entered a war of words with the Daily Mail, accusing the newspaper of being a "fascist rag" and publically announcing their boycott of the tabloid.

Between their semi-final match and Monday's final, which saw Balliol College Oxford defeat Wolfson College Cambridge, members of Balliol's team were contacted via Twitter by a Daily Mail journalist, who appealed for their personal contact information. 

When history student Freddy Potts was contacted, he replied to the journalist saying that “although I have nothing against you personally, but equally I have nothing to say to the fascist rag which employs you”. Potts has made his Twitter account private in the last few days. 

The same journalist also reached out to D-Phil student Benjamin Pope, who also responded  on Twitter explaining that the team had talked to one another and decided to ‘ethically boycott’ the Mail. 

Astrophysics student Pope has also publically declared his support for the anti-Daily Mail campaign, Stop Funding Hate, telling them to 'keep up the good work', and admitting that the team are 'big supporters' of the movement, which also targets the Daily Express and the Sun. The campaign was born following the three papers' coverage of last year's EU referendum and aims to challenge 'media hate speech' by pressuring companies to pull advertisements from these papers. 

Pope has received an influx of critical tweets as well as those in support of the team's stance. Replying to one user who complimented the team's handling of the situation, he expressed sympathy for people working at the Mail. 

On the day of the final, the Daily Mail published an article drawing to light the all-male teams that made up the programme, leading to an online outcry by Balliol College captain Joey Goldman who referred to the paper as 'the Daily Heil'. 

The Balliol team have, however, enjoyed some media coverage since they were awarded the winner's trophy by Stephen Hawking, appearing on BBC Radio Oxford and engaging in some friendly Twitter banter with a Guardian journalist.




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