Pub may lose licence after Facebook post ‘inciting violence’

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Provocative post: a decision over the George Bar & Grill’s licence will be made at Stockton Town Hall soon (image: Malc Mcdonald, Geograph)
Provocative post: a decision over the George Bar & Grill’s licence will be made at Stockton Town Hall soon (image: Malc Mcdonald, Geograph)

Related tags: Licence, Social media

A Stockton-on-Tees pub could have its licence revoked after police intervened over a Facebook post that its MP described as glorifying domestic violence.

Councillors reviewed the George Pub & Grill’s licence at a hearing this week, with a decision expected to be made next week.

The pub was reported to the council for a Facebook post that asked: “Would you punch your ex in the face for a steak?”

Tasteless promotion

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said he reported the pub to the police after receiving several messages from constituents asking him to take a stance.

He added: “I was also in touch with Stockton Borough Council’s licensing department and Cleveland Police’s domestic violence team, and was informed that they were already aware of, and looking into this post.”

The pub had also made several suggestions on its social media that council authorities and the area’s MPs were corrupt.

Cunningham responded: “The claim that the complaint was politically motivated is simply untrue. It was made because the George Bar & Grill’s tasteless promotion glorified domestic violence, and could be seen as an incitement to violence. 

“While no decision has been made yet, I am pleased that Cleveland Police and Stockton Council’s licensing committee has taken this issue seriously.”

Corruption comments

The site received a warning from the Advertising Standards Authority in 2017 for a post with the same phrase.

In a few Facebook posts before the hearing, the pub said it had been reported by a minority of people in “the PC brigade” and it was sticking up for businesses’ freedom of speech.

One of the posts read: “If we don't make a stand against these ridiculous claims then it will mean that this could happen to any business owner who the council or police force set out to get with a cheeky nudge from the local MP. 

“Common sense has to prevail and show others that we won't accept a corrupt system both with the council and already proven failing police force.”

Publican Craig Harker live streamed the council hearing on the pub Facebook page in what he called a bid to show “we are a family-friendly pub who values safety of all guests with no incidents ever in the six years we have owned it”.

Related topics: Licensing law

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