Comedian Andy Smart accused Greene King-operated pub the Plough in Bloomsbury, central London, of refusing his sister service because of her multiple sclerosis. She was allegedly told by one member of staff “we don’t do disableds”.
The complaint made via Smart’s Twitter account has received more than 4,000 retweets, 3,000 likes, more than 600 responses and provoked a call by novelist and playwright Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, to boycott both the pub and Greene King.
According to specialist licensing solicitor Poppleston Allen, pub operators cannot refuse entry or service based on: sex, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief.
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.— Andy Smart (@AndyCSP) May 21, 2019
Please do not use this Pub! @greeneking
When contacted by The Morning Advertiser, a Greene King spokesperson 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.”
Despite Greene King’s “urgent investigation”, the Plough issued an apology via its Facebook page, describing the incident as a miscommunication that the establishment deemed “inexcusable” and something it was “deeply concerned” by.
The post explained: “We would like to share our deepest concerns and apologies for the parties involved.
“Our goal as a team and representatives of Greene King is to provide our best possible service for all of our patrons.
“Refusing to serve anyone based on any disability is out of the question.
“I have discussed the incident with the team members involved thoroughly and believe there was a miscommunication, which we truly apologise for."