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

The private school gates were chained shut [Photograph from Google StreetView]

Highgate School was in lockdown this afternoon after a hoax terror threat was posted on online forum 4chan.

Twitter
Freddie Poser & Zak Cutner have developed a phone app
to encourage young people to vote

Not sure who to vote for? Worried your prejudices against Ed’s weird face, or the fact that David Cameron looks like he’s made of pork, will blind you to their policies?

Twitter

Islington Council denies school pork ban

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Banned: Pork products are off the menu at primary schools

The town hall has made an apparent U-turn on its decision not to serve pork in primary schools.

Haydn Evans

An award-winning secondary school in London’s East End is going into special measures over concerns about its sixth-form Islamic society’s possible links to radical preachers.

Students from across the country take part in a march through the capital to protest against tuition fees, debt and spending cuts (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Thousands of students from across the country descended on central London to plead with politicians to scrap tuition fees and wipe debts - but the protest was marred by a minority who attacked officers and caused damage to buildings.

London
Actress Barbara Windsor. Picture: PA Images/Anwar Hussein

Much-loved Barbara Windsor—star of Carry On films and TV’s EastEnders—is being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of East London.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

We have censored part of this image

Keith Fraser, the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has apologised after retweeting an Islamophobic cartoon which looks similar to Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the Prophet yesterday morning.