A popular Soho pub found itself facing accusations of homophobia today after a gay couple claimed they were asked to leave the premises for kissing.
According to reports, the pair were on their first date together, enjoying drinks after a meal at the John Snow on Broadwick Street. But when things took on a more romantic turn, they say they were asked to stop by another customer who claimed to be the landlord. They refused. A couple of hours later a woman claiming to be the landlady asked them to leave the place saying they were being "obscene". Jonathan Williams adds that the landlord, whose identity was later established by witnesses who were themselves ejected on questioning what happened, grabbed him by his jacket. A plain clothes officer got involved, according to some versions.
The story came to light after Williams used Twitter to share his misadventure. The tweet was reposted dozens of times; celebrity tweeters such as actress Emma Kennedy, Ben Goldacre and journalist Caitlin Moran lent their clout to the story.
The pub's reaction so far has been less than helpful by refusing to comment to journalists or issuing pithy comments like “I have every right to kick people out if I wish.” or "Can you just stop calling this number please, or we'll have you done for harassment."
While landlords do have the right to ask customers to leave, they must also abide with anti-discrimination regulations applying to the provision of goods and services. The police have been contacted and are dealing with the matter.
The John Snow is operated by the independent brewery, Samuel Smiths, who have not commented yet. The couple involved in the incident plan to complain to the company.
A similar story took place last year at the Greencoat Boy pub in Westminster when a group of LGBT people was asked to leave resulting in a full apology and compensation from owners Punch Taverns.
Picture by Odddutch from the Londonist photopool.