Driver accused of ordering ‘dirty’ gay men out of minicab for holding hands

Minicab firm investigates after alleged reaction to passengers holding hands is posted on Twitter

A driver with major minicab firm Addison Lee has been suspended while he is investigated for allegedly kicking out a gay couple from his cab after they held hands.

The men were being driven home  by the driver who allegedly called them “dirty” before he ordered them to get out of the taxi. The driver was suspended after one of the passengers, Liam Kelly, wrote about the incident on Wednesday in a post on Twitter, which led to the firm receiving a  string  of angry messages.

The driver was soon identified from a photo of his taxi’s number plate, which Mr Kelly also posted. He alleged in a Tweet: “Just been ejected from an @AddisonLeeCabs taxi for being gay. Thanks for the homophobic treatment.” In another Tweet he said: “My BF and I got into a taxi from G-A-Y Late. Started holding hands and were told to get out, and called dirty.”

Later he wrote: “Thank you to everyone for your messages of support, they mean a lot. We’re home now, after a very nice black taxi journey.”

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, said: “On the face of it this is a clear breach of the Equality Act and it’s very disturbing. There’s no evidence that these two men were doing anything different to what many other loving couples do in the back of cabs.

“If the facts are as proved, these two young men are entitled to go to the county courts.”

He added: “This gives a very disturbing message to lots of people who come to London, both to work and as tourists, who imagine that it’s a twenty-first century metropolis, and that they’ll be treated accordingly.”

Twitter users were quick to condemn the company for the driver’s treatment of the couple, with many pledging to stop using the service altogether. Jo Little-King posted: “Looks like I won’t be getting a contract with @AddisonLeeCabs for my day-job business after all,” while Phil Holmes wrote: “Sigh, don’t need to go to Russia 4 homophobia”.

An Addison Lee spokeswoman said: “We are aware of an incident involving an Addison Lee vehicle in London last night. This incident is being investigated thoroughly, and the driver has been suspended from duty while the investigation takes place. We are also in contact with the customer to understand more about what happened.

“Addison Lee does not tolerate any form of discrimination. We pride ourselves in delivering the highest possible level of professional service, and we take matters like this very seriously.”

The case echoes one in Portland, Oregon, last month, where a lesbian couple were evicted from a taxi on a motorway late at night. That driver lost his licence today, following an investigation into the incident.

This is not the first time that Addison Lee, London’s biggest private hire firm, has been caught up in controversy. Last year its chairman John Griffin published a column in his company’s magazine, Add Lib, which implied that running over cyclists might be acceptable because they were untrained beginners.

Griffin also urged his 3,500 drivers to flout the law and drive in bus lanes, putting cyclists at risk. The call to arms sparked a two year court battle for access to the lanes.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter make a mad 320-metre, 75-step dash to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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 General

Teaching Assistants

£50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...

Supply Teachers needed in Stowmarket

£1034496 - £1516224 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The Job:Randstad ...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week