G-A-Y owner Jeremy Joseph asks Boris Johnson ‘how the f**k he’s expected to reopen’ after coronavirus

Lisa Stansfield presented with flowers by Jeremy Joseph on stage at G-A-Y Heaven on May 3, 2014 in London, England. (Jo Hale/Redferns via Getty Images)

Leading British LGBT+ club owner Jeremy Joseph is rallying for businesses stampeded by the jarring financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic to “act now” and pressure landlords to cooperate with renters.

The owner of the G-A-Y club group in London and Manchester feels that prime minister Boris Johnson’s aid packages vastly leapfrog renters, with the prospect of paying half a years’ worth of rent at once looming over him come June.

Joseph tweeted Wednesday evening a statement steeped with anger against the Johnson administration, asking landlords and the premier a simple question: “How the f**k do you expect me to reopen?”

Jeremy Joseph: ‘We must act now and stop landlords and lenders from profiting during coronavirus.’

“How can businesses guarantee jobs when the biggest cost is rent and yet landlords refuse to negotiate?” Joseph wrote, whose clubs employ around 200 staff, he says.

He explained how the rent costs for his four venues totals per quarter £407,000.

Reaching out to the four property companies – Archco, Soho Estates, RDI REIT and Sunaco Investments – Joseph claimed he asked to “pay them an amount that covers their costs, but nothing that is profit.

“No one should be making a profit during coronavirus from businesses with no income.

“All four landlords said no. They are willing to defer rent payments.

“That means in June, G-A-Y will owe £814,000.

G-A-Y Late in central London (Twitter)

“So, Boris Johnson, I ask you: ‘How the f**k* do you expect me to re-open?”

He then sketched out his demands and lobbied for other businesses threatened by both Johnson’s loan-system and from unsympathetic landlords to call for “rent-free or a discount deal that is fair.

“We must act now,” the statement continued, “and stop landlords and lenders from profiting during coronavirus.

“I’m not speaking just for G-A-Y, but every business in this country.

“If we are ‘all in this together’,” echoing a chorus line from Johnson’s coronavirus conferences, “then surely that means banks and landlords, too?

“Enough is enough.”

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Joseph’s statement drew scores of support from LGBT+ community leaders, fellow business owners and renter advocacy groups.

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Earlier this month, Johnson urged people not to go to theatres, bars and clubs, dealing a massive blow to the LGBT+ entertainment industry that is already dominated by small business owners running on razor-thin margins.

Jeremy Joseph skewered the stringent order that unofficially closed such businesses, but it was later eclipsed by Johnson’s lockdown measures.

All businesses deemed non-essential have since been ordered to shutter doors, but in its wake, a vexing question emerged – how will businesses pay rent?

British premier Boris Johnson's lockdown measures have paralysed London. (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

British premier Boris Johnson’s lockdown measures have paralysed London in an effort to curb the climbing coronavirus caseload. (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Johnson’s tact has vastly contrasted with his counterparts elsewhere in the world, where instead of just mortgage holidays for landlords, premiers and presidents have provided relief measures for renters or even suspended rent entirely.

A vow of safety that Johnson has not provided, business leaders and Labour Party lawmakers say, Politics Home reported.

It comes as the Coronavirus Bill back-peddled minister’s promises to protect renters.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The Government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”

Yet, the emergency legislation does not offer this and instead only extends the eviction notice period that landlords have to give their tenants from two months to three months.