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 from SNAP.PA

A knot of very hardy Liverpool supporters will be travelling to Bulgaria this week to watch their team play Ludogorets. Welcome to Razgrad!

Read more

ScarJo (don’t tell her we called her that) turns 30 today. We wonder if she’ll be taking another trip to Disneyland?

Read more

How can football clubs be expected to act morally when the game is not being protected by the people at the top?

Read more

Promotions

Gamucci is a global leader and premier brand of electronic cigarettes

Gamucci has an electronic cigarette tailored for every need! We have a range of both disposable and rechargeable electronic cigarettes suitable for all adult smokers. And for a limited time we’re offering up to 40% off.

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

At 100 years old, this was Ruby Holt’s first visit to the beach – and the first time she saw the ocean.

TOP Stories

10:05
Fourteen people were injured in the blast at the Churchill Hyatt Regency Hotel in Portman Square

The Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel in Portman Square, central London, was rocked by a massive explosion last night.

Yesterday, 20:07
The statue of Nelson Mandela surrounded by security fencing in Parliament Square [Photograph by @OccupyLondon]

Around 40 protesters from activist group Occupy Democracy had a wet and windy night in Westminster as they attempted to ‘take back’ Parliament Square and ‘free Nelson Mandela’.

Yesterday, 12:35
[Photograph by Charles Mieville]

Two men have been killed after a balcony collapsed in Cadogan Square, one of Britain’s most expensive streets.

London Bloggers

Friday, November 14, 2014
Bird says back up your data

What happened after a friend of mine lost basically everything he’d created in the last 5 years:

Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Appilepsy team: Phil Efstathiou, Alex Telek , Clarence Ji, Miklos Molnar, Joran van Apeldoorn

In Tech City, things move fast. And sometimes erratically. Like phones in the pockets of people having epileptic seizures.

Friday, October 24, 2014
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...