London gay bar denies entry to man with MS because of his wheelchair

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A man with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was denied entry into one of London’s gay bars because he is in a wheelchair last night.

PinkNews reader Christopher Stapleton said he approached Compton’s bar on Old Compton Street in London’s Soho, on 25 September, and was unable to enter because of a step.

Mr Stapleton said: “I got a very frosty reception”.

He said he asked whether there was a ramp, and the duty bar manager, on being told that the bar legally should provide access, said: ” Any complaints should be addressed to the management”.

Of the duty manager, Mr Stapleton said: “No expression of regret, no apology. His rudeness and his offhand manner were breathtaking.”

The party said they gave up on trying to get into Compton’s and instead went to nearby the Duke of Wellington, where Mr Stapleton said he was offered assistance.

Mr Stapleton, who was diagnosed in 2008, and has Primary Progressive MS, the most severe form of the disease. said he had written to Compton’s bar landlordNeil Hodgson, and that he would consider taking legal action under the Equality Act 2010.

Amber Hammill is Head of Information Services at the MS Society: “It’s really disappointing to hear this happened. In 2013, people shouldn’t be denied access to a bar or pub because they’re using a powered wheelchair. People with MS have as much right as anyone else to have a full social life and we’d really like to urge anyone who runs a bar or pub to make sure their venue is accessible for all customers. It’s good to hear Chris was able to get into another pub, who it seems more than welcomed his custom.”

Duty manager Adrian Marti refused to give a statement to PinkNews, and put the phone down when contacted.

Compton’s landlord Neil Hodgson did not immediately return a request for comment.