News :: International

UK Bar Criticized for ’Gay Guys’ Receipt

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Sep 20, 2013
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Officials from a bar in the United Kingdom are coming under fire after two straight customers were given a receipt that described them as "gay guys," the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports.

Al Butler and his friend, both 26, say when they got the bill for their lunch at Judson’s Bar and Pub in Pocklington, North Yorkshire, the waitress wrote "Gay Guys...Stools" on it to point out where the men were sitting to a coworker.

The note upset Butler and his friend and Butler calls the incident "unacceptable racism."

"My friend spotted it first and said ’I think the manager’s misconstrued our lunch," Butler, an aerospace engineer, told the Daily Mail. "I obviously thought it was inappropriate. It took a while for it sink in. It was not insulting, it was just a shock."

"It’s not a bad thing to be called gay - although I’m not and neither is my friend - but I think it’s prejudiced," he added. "It’s jumping to a conclusion without the need to do so."

He told the newspaper that when he complained in person no one gave him an apology. He said bar officials simply said, "Sorry, there’s nothing I can do."

He even sought out the bar’s owner, Peter Ward, who told the Daily Mail: "We have apologized unreservedly. While it was completely wrong, I don’t feel it was prejudiced. It was completely unprofessional and it is not what our business is about.

"We understand why the two gentlemen concerned were offended and we have apologized to them unreservedly," Ward continued. "We have also disciplined the waitress concerned and put in place a procedure so it will not happen again. I would add that everyone is welcome at Judson’s."

U.K. LGBT rights advocates are upset over the incident as well and James Lawrence of Stonewall, a U.K.-based LGBT charity group, said the staff needed better training to prevent incidents like this.

"Incidents like this highlight the importance of staff training. Identifying customers by their perceived sexual orientation is unnecessary and could cause offence. It’s ’right that the bar should apologies to the customers for this inappropriate behavior."

A spokesperson from the York LGBT Forum also commented on the incident and told the Daily Mail: "Clearly this is an unacceptable and wrong stereotype made by a member of staff at the bar, but it is also a mistake which could cause great offence and upset to anyone involved, regardless of their sexuality. We would welcome any business to contact us should they feel their staff require training on issues of equality, where we would be more than happy to assist."

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