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

Latest Stories

The most sureal moment at the Commonwealth Opening Ceremony was the sight of some giant dancing Tunnocks tea cakes (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Did you watch the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last night? It made us misty-eyed for London 2012, when the whole world was watching our city, so we decided to compare Glasgow 2014 to Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony. Be prepared for a blast from the past!

Read more
5 minutes ago
The Eid al-Fitr party in Trafalgar Square promises to be fun, fantastic, and free! (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Check out our five-minute guide to celebrating the end of Ramadan in London.

Read more
The Met has been accused of spying on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Police spied on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes after the Brazilian was shot dead by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber in July 2005, it has been claimed.

Read more

TOP Stories

The most sureal moment at the Commonwealth Opening Ceremony was the sight of some giant dancing Tunnocks tea cakes (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Did you watch the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last night? It made us misty-eyed for London 2012, when the whole world was watching our city, so we decided to compare Glasgow 2014 to Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony. Be prepared for a blast from the past!

5 minutes ago
The Eid al-Fitr party in Trafalgar Square promises to be fun, fantastic, and free! (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Check out our five-minute guide to celebrating the end of Ramadan in London.

The Met has been accused of spying on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Police spied on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes after the Brazilian was shot dead by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber in July 2005, it has been claimed.

The attack took place in Allnutt Way in south London yesterday evening (Picture: Google StreetView)

A man entered a house in Clapham and stabbed a woman multiple times before climbing into his van and driving off, say police.

I'm not sure what he's going for here but I don't think it's worked (Picture via Gumtree)

In just a pair of shorts lying draped across his beloved Casio keyboard, this south London Gumtree seller is taking an unorthodox approach to shifting his instrument.

Yesterday, 16:51
The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

The Secret Cinema Back to the Future for tonight has also been cancelled with just one hour’s notice, to the dismay of fans.

Oli Beckingsdale says mountain bikes are the best for riding in London

The obvious perception of mountain biking is being in the countryside riding up and downhill far away from built up urban areas. Whilst this is where the best all day adventures will take place there is still a lot of fun to be had riding mountain bikes in the city.

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more
Guess the manager quiz. Here's a hint, it's not these four.

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
A normal day at London Liverpool Street station

This quiz is for people who think they know the Tube and rail inside out.

Read more