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The owner and operator of Balans café in London’s Old Compton Street has fired the security company responsible for ejecting a gay couple.
As So So Gay reported two days ago, the security guard ordered the couple to leave, leading to a barrage of complaints from other people who had been similarly treated. At the time, it was reported that they were told to leave for kissing, which ‘was making other diners feel uncomfortable’, although this was denied by Balans, who promised to investigate.
Owner David Taylor has now said in a statement: ‘I [have] become increasingly worried over the last six months that the doormen we were being sent could not distinguish between people having a good time and those who were liable to cause problems for other diners. As one customer observed, the doormen appeared “menacing”. After much research I employed another security company who work with several other gay venues and is gay owned and operated. Their professional and relaxed manner has been a breath of fresh air.’
However, Taylor has denied the couple were ejected for kissing, saying that they were ‘verbally abusive’ towards the staff, particularly the waiter who, he says, ‘is gay himself’. He added, ‘We have never, and never will, have any problem with anyone kissing their partner in our restaurants. We have only ever asked for things to be toned down if getting over exuberant.’
He also refers to allegations that once outside of the building, the bouncer who had ejected them was overheard cursing them on the phone, saying that the CCTV shows no evidence of their security making a phone call after the event, but that he has tried to make contact to clarify the matter.
Taylor says: ‘I am in complete agreement with many comments I have read following this incident regarding the need to keep Soho the fun, lively bohemian area it has been during the last 25 years. We should all work together to keep it that way.’