Bolt apologises after taxi driver leaves queer man stranded with ‘no gay boy’ insult

An edited image of Ell Hahn next to a Bolt taxi.

A queer man was called homophobic slurs by a Bolt taxi driver before the driver refused to pick him up and drove away.

Manchester resident Ell Hahn told PinkNews that a taxi he had ordered from the app drove off before he could get in after the driver judged his appearance and hurled homophobic insults at him.

Hahn had reportedly ordered a pick-up from the app the morning before work on 15 June after his car had broken down.

After flagging down his taxi, the Bolt driver slowed down, refused entry into the car, and said “no gay boy” to him before driving off and cancelling the trip.

Bolt has told PinkNews it is investigating what happened.

Following the incident, Hahn said he had reported it to the Bolt complaints department, who apologised but refused to give further information about investigations into the homophobic outburst.

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“I have refused this apology as I don’t think it’s appropriate that the apology just comes from a company member totally unrelated to the incident,” Hahn said.

“I have suffered from this abuse for years and I don’t expect it from a company I am paying a service for.”

In a statement to PinkNews, a company spokesperson confirmed that it Bolt aware of the case and that an investigation is underway.

“Bolt is firmly opposed to discrimination of any kind, including against LGBTQIA+ communities,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company would “apologise and regret if it happens” in a Bolt taxi.

“If drivers are found to have been discriminatory, they are blocked from the platform.

“The driver has already faced appropriate disciplinary action following this case and steps have been taken so this cannot happen again.”

‘I will continue to make a fuss’

Hahn said that, during his call with the complaint staff, he requested to hear the outcome of an internal investigation, but was allegedly told that the company may not be in a position to provide this information.

“I have stated that I will continue to make a fuss until something is done,” he continued.

The taxi app, which is most prominent in Europe and parts of Africa and North America, boasts “peace of mind every time you ride” on its safety and support page.

Despite this, several incidents similar to Hahn’s have taken place previously, with similar complaints about the service’s driver screening measures and its approach to handling complaints.

A man in Prague reportedly told Czech Republic media resource Expats CZ that he and his partner were subjected to homophobic slurs in 2020 by a driver who hurled anti-LGBTQ+ comments towards them while on a call.

According to the anonymous passenger, the driver said: “I’ve just picked up two f****ts, I’m going to vomit.”

After confronting the man, he said: “I hate f****ts, if you are not f****ts you can stay in the car.”

The driver then locked the door and warned the couple that if they tried to open them, he would break their arms.

When asked for comment, Bolt’s Central and Eastern European representative, Roman Sysel, said the actions were “absolutely unacceptable”.

“We believe that the same standards must be applied to all passengers, no matter what their sexual orientation or country of origin is,” Sysel continued.

“Every driver must have a valid taxi driver’s license, the validity of which must be, according to law, checked by Bolt at least once every 15 working days.

“The relevant office issuing the license does this screening, both for driving violations and criminal offences.”

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.