Gay couple ‘offered £10 gift card’ by supermarket after homophobic incident

A gay couple who were warned not to hold hands in Sainsbury’s were offered a measly £10 gift card as compensation.

Thomas Rees and boyfriend Josh had been shopping in a Hackney branch of the supermarket chain on Monday when they experienced the treatment.

The pair say they were pulled aside by a security guard after they finished paying for their shopping – and warned that another customer had complained about them holding hands and showing public displays of affection.

After the incident, Mr Rees fumed on Twitter: “To the bigot who complained about my bf & I holdin hands & the security guard at @sainsburys who felt the need to ‘talk’ to us outside: [middle finger emoji]”.

A customer service rep from Sainsbury’s tweeted the pair to resolve the incident, but the pair were dismayed when they were offered a £10 giftcard as a “goodwill gesture”. Mr Rees says he wants the store to train its staff about LGBT issues.

Discriminating against someone based on sexual orientation is a potential breach of the 2010 Equality Act which could lead to a fine of up to £5000.

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Mr Rees said: “I just don’t understand why he needed to take us outside and why he needed to tell us [to stop holding hands]. There was no sense of humility.

“I refuse to believe this would have happened to a heterosexual couple – we just stared in disbelief. The issue here is it felt like like 1960s Britain.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We do not tolerate discrimination in any form. We are investigating this urgently with our security contractor.”