Hotel boss apologises after bragging about ‘no poofs’ policy

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The boss of one of Scotland’s best-known hotels has apologised after he bragged about never knowingly employing a gay person.

Stewart Spence MBE, the owner of five-star Aberdeen hotel the Marcliffe, was alleged to have made the comments at the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland (HITS) event last week.

According to The Times, Mr Spence, a friend of billionaire property tycoon and Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, made shocking comments.

The newspaper reports that Mr Spence bragged: “I’m not a poof. I have never employed a poof and I never will.”

One guest said: “Jaws dropped. Nobody could believe that such a well-known and influential figure was openly expressing such horrible, bigoted views.”

Steve Harris of VisitAberdeenshire, who also attended, said: “As the official tourism body for the region we seek to encourage visits from everyone.

“I am very confident that the views expressed by one individual do not reflect those of the industry nor of the local people who are well known for their generous welcome.”

Mr Spence has claimed the comments were a joke and that he does not discriminate.

He said: “I made some very ill-advised comments at the dinner and I am absolutely mortified. I would like to sincerely apologise for the offence caused.

“I don’t know what I was thinking. I was hoping to raise a few laughs around the 1970s theme and while the word I used may have, regrettably, been commonplace in that generation, they were still entirely unacceptable.

“The Marcliffe is an inclusive place both for staff and customers. We welcome everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. I really regret this and am truly sorry.”

A spokesperson for HITS said: “We strongly disagree with the homophobic views and comments expressed by one individual at the dinner.

“We would like to reassure everyone that his offensive comments were his own and in no way representative of the opinions of HITS.”

Mr Spence received an MBE in 2015 for services to the hotel industry.