Cab Driver in London Suspended Over Twitter Blow-Up
A minicab driver in London has been suspended while he is under investigation for allegedly kicking a same-sex couple out of his vehicle for holding hands, reports the British newspaper The Independent.
The incident gained substantial attention when one of the men tweeted about the experience and the minicab company received a chain of angry messages.
"Just been ejected from an @AddisonLeeCabs taxi for being gay. Thanks for the homophobic treatment," Liam Kelly, one of the passengers, tweeted Wednesday.
He snapped a photo of the driver's license plate and tweeted it along with other messages that detailed his story.
He and his boyfriend got into a cab late that night, he claims, as they were heading home from the club G-A-Y Late.
When they started holding hand, the cab driver called them "dirty" and told them to get out. They made it home safely after getting a ride in a London Black Taxi cab.
Twitter users were quick to condemn the major minicab firm Addison Lee for the alleged behavior of the minicab driver.
"Looks like I won't be getting a contract with @AddisonLeeCabs for my day-job business after all," posted Jo Little King.
"Sigh, don't need to go to Russia 4 homophobia," wrote Phil Holmes.
Kelly responded to the tweets writing, "Thank you to everyone for your messages of support, they mean a lot. We're home now, after a very nice Black Taxi journey."
"LGBT [people] are my bread and butter," Dan Norris, a licensed London Black Taxi driver, told Edge. "If I refused to take them I would starve to death."
"A licensed London Taxi, or Black Cab, spends about 3 years studying the Streets of London and it's thousands of places of interest," Norris informed. "They are regarded by the public as the best 'taxi' service in the world."
Another licensed Black Taxi driver, Pete Crane, commented, "[Addison Lee has] a long history of hatred towards many various groups in London, including cyclists and us London Black Taxi drivers."
"If the facts are as proved, these two young men are entitled to go to the county courts," Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, said about the Independent. "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."
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."
A cab company in Portland, Ore., has gone out of their way to show support for the LGBT community after a driver kicked a lesbian couple out of his cab on the side of the Interstate.
The Broadway cab company has gone so far as to paint their name in the colors of the rainbow flag on the side of some of their cabs.
This article has been updated to correct mistakes that were made in terminology.