Channel 4 journalist Jenny Kleeman told to stop breastfeeding in public by security guard
Cafe was forced to apologise after a security guard told Kleeman she could not feed her child at the table when a customer complained
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Thursday 08 May 2014
Channel 4 journalist and film-maker Jenny Kleeman was ordered to stop breastfeeding her child by a security guard in a London café because customers were "not allowed" to breastfeed at the table.
A guard at the O2 Centre, where the Apostrophe café is situated and where Ms Kleeman was sat, told her instead to use "a folding chair next to the nappy bins in the baby changing cupboard" upstairs in the venue to feed her six-month old son.
Breastfeeding in public is protected by the Equality Act 2010, which states that businesses must not discriminate against a woman who is breastfeeding.
Ms Kleeman, who regularly appears in Channel 4’s Unreported World, refused to move upstairs and immediately tweeted her disgust at the experience.
She told The Evening Standard: "I was feeding my son, incredibly discreetly, with a friend of mine when a security guard approached me.
"I said I was fine at the table, and he said it was not allowed. When I challenged him saying it was against the law to try to prohibit me, he said it was private property and he did not make the rules.
Just been asked to stop breast feeding my baby son in Apostrophe in the O2 centre a Finchley Road because it's "not allowed"; Jenny Kleeman (@jennykleeman) May 6, 2014
"As soon as I told him I was a journalist however, he became very sheepish and said he was ‘just doing my job'."
The guard had apparently intervened following a complaint from a customer.
The café quickly apologised via Twitter and stressed the security guard in question was employed by the O2 Centre, and was not a member of one of their staff.
.@Apostrophe_UK I was totally covered! And even if I hadn't been, it wouldn't have been right. Sad you're now trying to justify this; Jenny Kleeman (@jennykleeman) May 7, 2014
"We would never prevent a mother from feeding her child. Our apologies once again for the disruption and upset this has caused,” Apostrophe added.
Her experience echoes an incident at Sports Direct when a mother was asked to leave for breastfeeding her infant in the store, sparking outrage and prompting demonstrations from mothers.
In March, Emily Slough was secretly photographed feeding her baby daughter in Staffordshire and labelled a 'tramp' when the shot was posted online, sparking the 'Free to Feed' campaign.
A spokesperson for the O2 Centre also issued a grovelling apology for the incident.
"On behalf of The O2 Centre I would like to apologise personally for the situation you encountered when feeding your son," Deborah Jones, retail operations director for Land Securities which owns the O2 Centre told her.
"I want to assure you that it is not our policy to prevent breast feeding anywhere within the O2 Centre, or indeed any of our shopping centres, and the security guard who spoke to you did not act in line with our policy.
"I assure you that we will be working with all staff in all of our centres to ensure they are fully aware of our policy."
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