The Dorset in Lewes, East Sussex, posted the sign in its window during the Boxing Day hunt that read: “Due to the hunt today, we regret to inform you that we will not be welcoming saboteurs or vegans into the premises. Kind regards, the management.”
Here's somewhere to boycott. Please share.— Phil (@Pwookey) December 26, 2018
This is The Dorset, Lewes. pic.twitter.com/TuFKWRhRXL
The pub, which does offer vegan options on its menu, was criticised on social media where users called for the venue to be boycotted.
Well it’s definitely not ‘And A Happy New Year’ to you. Promoting illegal hunting whilst discriminating against people who respect animals? I’m ashamed to have you in my home town of #Lewes you deserve to be boycotted indefinitely.— Ant (@antonia_____) December 27, 2018
I'm deeply disgusted by your behaviour. People who hunt and kill animals for fun are the scum of the earth and they are braking the law.— Jute (@1jute) December 27, 2018
Harvey’s Brewery, which owns the pub, released a statement in response to the comments via its Twitter.
It said: “Following our return from the Christmas break, we have been made aware of an incident involving the stewardship of the Dorset pub in Lewes, which placed an inappropriate and divisive pub sign outside the pub on Boxing Day (26 December 2018).
“Harvey’s does not concur with the sentiment of this sign in any way and is appalled at the inconsiderate actions of the individual in question.
“Harvey’s does not directly manage the Dorset, it is a tenanted house and having been in contact with the tenants, they have informed us that their employee has been suspended pending an ongoing investigation.”
The statement also highlighted how all are welcome at Harvey's Brewery pubs and asked customers for their continued support.
It added: “Harvey’s is fully committed to the inclusivity of all guests. We would like to assure customers that our managed houses are happy to cater for all dietary requirements and we encourage our tenanted estate to do the same.
“We greatly regret the misperceptions created by this notice and would like to reassure current and future patrons that all are welcome in our establishments, and the season of goodwill to all is keenly observed by us at Harvey’s.
“We are looking to respond to the many enquiries we have received in due course and hope our customers will continue their support in light of the many negative reviews we have now received online due to this incident.”
The licensees of the Dorset, the South East Pub Co, has also released a statement, apologising for any upset the poster caused.
It said: “Following the comments generated by the inaccurate, insensitive and inappropriate poster, the company would like to issue a formal apology for any confusion, offence or upset it may have caused.
“The poster, information it contained and the views expressed by staff since are not representative of the views or opinions of the company or brewery.
“We do not affiliate with any organisations or discriminate against any individual or groups. The staff involved will be disciplined in accordance with our policies and procedures and this will not happen again.
“Please refrain from further personal contact with, or threats to our staff and address any complaints or comments directly to our senior management team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time.”