Peter Tatchell: ‘Bizarre’ to praise homophobic rant college over gay rights record

12:07 17 January 2014

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

2010 Getty Images

A decision by equality campaigners Stonewall to include Newham College on a list of 100 “gay friendly” employers is “bizarre”, according to human rights activist Peter Tatchell.

The veteran campaigner said the institution “clearly failed to take proper steps to address a serious homophobic incident when it was first drawn to their attention”.

Head of performing arts Mark Walcott was fired in December after a recording from 2012 of him making homophobic remarks was posted online by staff members who felt a year-long college inquiry into the speech had gone nowhere.

The college’s principal, Denise Brown, who headed the inquiry, stepped down a week later.

Speaking to the London24 sister title the Newham Recorder, Mr Tatchell said: “It is bizarre that Newham College has remained on Stonewall’s workplace equality index, given Mark Walcott’s sustained homophobic outburst and the fact that the college took no action against him for over a year.

“The college only took action after the whole episode was exposed in the national media.”

He added: “I am sure there are some good staff doing good things at the college.

“However, the college administration clearly failed to take proper steps to address a serious homophobic incident when it was first drawn to their attention.”

Stonewall has defended its keeping the college on its Top 100 Workplace Equality Index 2014, calling the teacher’s remarks an “isolated incident” and praising the college’s work on gay equality.

In the 50 minute recording, posted online in November 2013, Mr Walcott is heard to say: “Boys are becoming gay not because they have a gay gene but because they have gay teachers who are indoctrinating them with their gay mentality.”

He is also heard claiming he has asked gay teachers to leave schools, and that their sexuality can stop them doing their jobs properly.

Simon Feeke, Stonewall’s head of workplace programmes, said Newham College has a strong commitment to gay equality “right from the top”.

He said: “Dr Walcott’s comments were absolutely reprehensible. But one individual’s homophobia shouldn’t detract from the fantastic work that many individuals are doing at Newham College to support gay staff and students.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London Education News

Virtuoso pianist and YouTube star, Valentina Lisitsa, also played for commuters on one of the St Pancras' street pianos (Picture: PA Images)

One of London’s top piano tutors will be giving out free lessons on the King’s Cross St Pancras station upright every lunchtime next week.

An artist's impression of the new campus (Picture: London Met University)

London Metropolitan University has unveiled plans for its new £125million Islington campus, which will coincide with a “major reorganisation” of its four faculties.

London

Car explodes into flames in Ilford

Friday, April 22, 2016
Car fire in  Royston Gardens, Ilford (Credit: Ivan Cooper)

This was the moment a car went up in a fireball in Royston Gardens, Ilford, yesterday evening.

Poet-Tree: A Thousand Voices arrived in London Tuesday (Picture: Justin Gof)

The ‘Text-art Banksy’, poet Robery Montgomery, just unveiled the Poet-Tree in the heart of the City, an art installation made up of thousands of poems written by ordinary Londoners.

Poet Christian Foley took the internet by storm this week with his rap

A hip young teacher who delivered a blistering science freestyle to students has revealed he raps all of his lessons – but was almost outsmarted by an economics class.

Teachers from sixth form colleges will descend on Parliament tomorrow (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Teachers at sixth form colleges across London are on strike today as part of the “Save Our Colleges” campaign against education cuts.

High Court

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport