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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
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

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain