London gay bar invites back man with MS who was denied entry due to his wheelchair

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The management of a gay bar in London’s Old Compton Street is to apologise to a patron who said he was turned away because he was in a wheelchair, and has admitted the situation was badly handled.

It was reported earlier today that PinkNews reader Christopher Stapleton had 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, but said the staff on duty had denied him help to access the bar.

Speaking to PinkNews, Compton’s landlord Neil Hodgson attributed the situation to a “breakdown in communication”, saying that both he and his regular head of security were away from the premises at the time of the incident.

Mr Hodgson admitted, nonetheless, that the situation was badly handled, and said that he intended to apologise to Mr Stapleton, and to invite him back to Compton’s in an attempt to rectify the situation.

Mr Stapleton told PinkNews: “I would be glad to be invited back and to receive an apology.”

He said the head of security was not on the premises, a less experienced security guard, hired from Scanner Security, was present, who had not been briefed about where the ramp was stored. Mr Hodgson said the bar had “let ourselves down quite severely”.

A statement from Compton’s today said: “Compton’s has a proud history of serving and supporting the LGBT community and welcomes everyone, regardless of who they are.

“We always aim to accommodate all of our guests and friends, ensuring that their visit to us is enjoyable and importantly to us all, fun.

“On this occasion, we did not meet the high standards we set ourselves every day and we apologise for the inconvenience and upset this has clearly caused to Chris and his friends.

“We hope to be in contact with Chris shortly so we can offer our apologies face to face and treat him to a great night out with us here.”

Mr Hodgson, the landlord at Compton’s for fifteen years, said that if he had been on the premises he was confident that the situation would not have taken place, and said that if the ramp not been suitable for use with Mr Stapleton’s wheelchair, they would have found other means to assist him in entering the bar.

Suggesting that staff would be offered additional training where needed, Mr Hodgson described the situation as a “massive learning curve”, and re-emphasised his remorse that the incident had taken place.

Mr Stapleton was diagnosed in 2008, and has Primary Progressive MS, the most severe form of the disease. He has not yet responded to the statement from Compton’s.

Do you know of any other venues around the world which have denied entry to patrons using wheelchairs?