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
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

CCNP Network Engineer - Farnborough, £250 pd

£250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...

Technical Consultant Configuration, SQL, SQL Server

£55000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Technical Cons...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home