A popular London pub has been forced to issue an apology after a member of staff told a woman with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that “we don’t do disableds”.
Andy Smart was shocked when his sister Ros, who uses a wheelchair, was refused service at The Plough in Bloomsbury on Tuesday afternoon.
The “manager” of the refurbished Victorian pub said that “they don’t serve disabled people”, according to Mr Smart, who later that evening took to social media to express his anger.
Scores of outraged Twitter users, including Trainspotter novelist Irvine Welsh and comedian Shappu Khorsandi, also declared that they would no longer use the bar which regularly attracts creative artists.
The pub issued a statement on Facebook blaming the refusal on a “miscommunication”.
It read: “I have discussed the incident with the team members involved thoroughly and believe there was a miscommunication which we truly apologise for. We have accommodated and serve disabled patrons before and we will continue to do so as we have always. Furthermore our staff and myself also have members of family that suffer from disabilities and would not like to see the same events happening to them. From myself and the members of staff from the Plough we would like to humbly apologise for the discomfort and distress caused by the misunderstanding that occurred today.”
This afternoon, my sister Ros, who has MS, was turned away from the The Plough, a pub on Museum Street, London WC1. The phrase they used was “We don’t do disableds.” The manager then told her they don’t serve disabled people.
Please do not use this Pub! @greeneking
— Andy Smart (@AndyCSP) May 21, 2019
But earlier this morning Mr Smart said that his sister is still awaiting an apology amid calls for the relevant staff to face disciplinary action.
The Equality Act gives legal protection to people who are discriminated against at work, when buying goods or when accessing services.
— Andy Smart (@AndyCSP) May 21, 2019
David Martin, CEO of the MS Trust, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the treatment that this person received at The Plough and strongly condemn the actions of those involved. For pub staff to treat a person with MS in such a way is quite simply shocking in 21st century Britain. I’m sure that it’s not Greene King’s policy to discriminate against disabled people, but in case they aren’t sure, people with MS (which often can’t be seen) are automatically protected by Equality Act 2010. We hope that Greene King now do all they possibly can to educate staff on disability and ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.”
MS is an incurable condition affecting the brain or spinal cord, causing vision, balance and muscle problems.
There are around 90,000 people in England with MS – and the primary progressive version accounts for around 10 to 15 per cent of cases.
A spokesperson for Greene King, who own the pub, said: “Everyone is welcome at Greene King and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination. We at Greene King and the team at The Plough are extremely saddened by what has happened and have apologised for the upset this has caused. We are also following up with the customer to explain the action we are taking.
“We have investigated the incident, including reviewing the CCTV footage of the visit and speaking to the team members on duty yesterday, as well as the pub manager, who was not working at the time. We always try our best to accommodate all customer needs and encourage our teams to go above and beyond to make their pubs as accessible as possible for everyone.”
Green King did apologise to the family telling them that the the staff will be retrained and donated to the charity Match Moms.
Hi all. Greene King have apologised, the staff will be retrained and they will donate a substantial amount to my sisters charity Match Moms. They are also going to widen the door as access for wheelchairs. Please let this story drop now. We do not wish to talk to any media.
— Andy Smart (@AndyCSP) May 22, 2019