Reader comments · Gay bar owner defends ‘straights only’ job advert · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Gay bar owner defends ‘straights only’ job advert

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. Just nit-picking, but the image you are showing with the article is not from a AXM business. The image is of Queer bar that has no link to AXM

  2. Well done, Haydn Pope, for providing a list of establishments that gay people should now avoid.

  3. It sends out the message that specifically asking for people of one sexual orientation is fine. If gays can do it, then surely straights should be able to? We risk a backlash, the DM are already pinpointing the few cases of ‘gay only’ this and that, let’s not fuel the fire.The flyer should have put something along the lines of ‘our policy of equal opportunities means straight and gay are equally welcome to apply’. Straight men will clearly know that working in a gay club will involve gay men and women being there. However, they may not be aware that they are actually welcome to apply or would add diversity to the work environment. As we have seen this week, some Christians were obviously not aware that discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation was illegal. It seems some gay people aren’t either.

    There should be no difference in access to goods, services or employment on either side of the sexuality divide.

  4. “I would add that we employ on ability and personality and not sexuality”

    Good. :)

    “Our brand new venue is situated in a hugely busy student area within Manchester, and as such I felt, and still feel, that a couple of straight students who are already established into that particular student group would be a perfect complement to our existing team”

    But you just said you employ people based on ability and personality, and *not* sexuality!

  5. Jock S. Trap 24 Jan 2011, 12:24pm

    Surely this should be about the best person for the job regardless of race, gender, sexuality….

    Guess with so many unemployed it opens the door to be devisive, however unintentional it may be.

  6. This reminds me of an arc of the Troy comic where one of the gay characters was fired from the gay bar he worked at, because he was gay. The bar decided they wanted only straight male employees, because they wouldn’t flirt with the customers or give them free drinks. The character sued for discrimination and won.

  7. Amuses me when people break the law and then try to make it look like the media is clutching at straws when it’s reported.

    Or rather, it would amuse me if it wasn’t such a serious issue.

  8. The standard wording should be something like

    xxx is an equal opportunities employer, we are currently under-represented from the xx community and would particularly welcome applications from that community. All applications will be considered on merit.

    Thats what happens on nearly every job add in Northern Ireland where this has been a requirement on religious (now expanded to all protected groups) basis for more than 15 years. I am not sure it a requirement in ENgland but sounds like it might be a good idea.

  9. Christine Beckett 24 Jan 2011, 12:44pm

    I am sure they have what they regard as very sound reasons for this decision, and of course the fact that the company has a strong gay contingent is not in dispute.

    But regardless of that, it seems the advert is outside the law, in that I think it would be hard for an objective observer to see AXM’s reason as a “genuine, determining and proportionate’ one.

    And of course it gives further ammunition to the right winger religionist lobby, who can now point to the fact at even “gay” companies want to discriminate against gay people sometimes.

    if it’s a legal ad, then fine.

    If not, it’s AXM’s fault for trying to break the law, and not the LGBT community’s for pointing it out.


  10. “He said: “Oh please, have you people really got nothing better to write about?”

    Wow, I’m actually amazed at this guys response. Clearly having a bad day.

  11. “To even suggest that AXM is homophobic in any way shape or form is frankly ridiculous and insulting.”

    Well why is AXM looking to hire ‘straight only’staff for its flyering staff?

  12. I must have led a sheltered life. What is a flyerer? I have never heard the word before.

    If it is a person who hands out leaflets ‘flyers’ to other people in the street or around the uni campus, then why the heck is sexual orientation relevant? They’re going to be fully clothed and upright while doing the job aren’t they?

    And if it means anything else, well they will still be upright and clothed, surely?

  13. im amuseby the frankness of their comments

  14. TheSuburbanBi 24 Jan 2011, 2:14pm

    ‘storm, meet teacup’

    But seriously, avoid all troubes in the future and only hire bisexual ‘flyerers’ (whatver those are)… sorted.

  15. Below is the link to AXM. Send the AXM management team at AXM your thoughts about their hiring practices (click on “Contact Us” to email them and you can also click on “Management Team” to find each individual manager and CC their email address…who knows maybe one of them will tell the BIG BOSS about Haydn):

  16. Steve@GayWebHosting 24 Jan 2011, 3:07pm

    Its called ´target marketing´. They are wanting people to help them market a new venue located within a heavily student-populated area.. Seems reasonable to me to advertise for people within that demographic.

    I also think it is frankly absurd to label a company that is gay owned and operated, with about 90% gay staff, who have done so much to help and support gay charities… (whilst many other gay businesses have not), of being homophobic… and talking about ´boycotts´ Get real guys..

  17. Well they did say “Ideally” meaning ‘if possible.’

  18. Tim Hopkins 24 Jan 2011, 3:44pm

    This employer may very well not be homophobic, but the owner of such a business should understand the law, and they are breaking it!

    A genuine occupational requirement (GOR) – in this case, that the employee must be straight – only exists if the employer can demonstrate that no LGB person would be capable of doing the job. Clearly some LGB people are very good bar staff, so there is no GOR in this case.

    It is not a genuine occupational requirement to prefer a straight person because of the demograpics of the customers. For a start, how would the customers know the bar staff member was LGB or straight? It’s clearly unfair to exclude all LGB applicants.

    Dave G is spot on – if straight people are underrepresented in your workforce, you can say in your job ads that you particularly welcome applications from straight people for that reason. But when it comes to selecting from the applicants, you cannot lawfully use their sexual orientation to choose between them. You must accept applications from LGB people and assess them fairly alongside the other applications without using the applicant’s sexual orientation as part of that assessment.

  19. Tim Hopkins 24 Jan 2011, 3:46pm

    oops I wrote bar staff instead of flyering staff but of course that makes no difference.

  20. just an odd point of view from the U.S.

    but don’t you think that instead of ranting and raving that what they did was “illegal” that the point should be that their want ad was poorly worded?

    Some of your comments remind me of the whiny cruds we have here in the U.S. –on both sides of the equality issue.

  21. positive discrimination was implemented to protect minorities like lgbt.

  22. dave wainwright 24 Jan 2011, 5:05pm

    It seems discriminatory to me to specify the sexual orientation of prospective employees, stinks of hypocrisy , cant have our cake and eat it , sort it out Haydn it isn’t about sexual orientation it is about equal opportunities .

  23. Tim Hopkins 24 Jan 2011, 5:33pm

    mikenola, the ad was both unlawful and poorly worded. By saying he wanted straight people only, the employer may have put off the best applicants – he’ll never know!

    But one thing experience in the UK has shown in the 7 years since sexual orientation discrimination in employment was made unlawful, is that such laws are needed. Some employers don’t listen to good advice; some need the law to put them right.

    I make no assumption in this specific case – this may well have been an error made without much thought, rather than indicating any more rooted problem.

  24. Haydn Pope 24 Jan 2011, 6:11pm

    Will you people please get a grip !!!
    AXM is not, nor has it ever been homophobic.
    And Edward, I and the BIG BOSS as you put it, and i absolutely stand by what we were trying to achieve.
    We are looking for some new people to add to our existing excellent team of gay staff who would be better placed to infiltrate / target the straight student community. You will notice that the advert says ‘ideally’ because if a gay person applied who fitted that criteria then of course we would employ them.
    This is purely about horses for courses, and absolutely not about discrimination. AXM is an openly and very publically proud company.
    so get a life and save your battles for the issues out there that need tackling, and that we as a company help to fight.

  25. I find it hard to believe all the hype over a advert advertising for straight staff for Manchester Newest Bar Downtown ,

    The bar formally known as Over draught as always been a very busy straight student venue ,once again the gay band waggon must be in town

    And to state that Haydn Pope who is a very well respected licensee in central is discriminating against GAY People this is absolutely rubbish.

    Haydn has raised thousands of pounds for a number of different gay charities over the past 8 years , he sponsored the sparkle weekend when none of the other gay businesses would , he has help raised thousands of the LGF Foundation ,

    I hope he pulls the plug on these two face groups who were fast at criticising frist before getting their facts right

    And If readers of the Pink News would have done their homework properly they would realised that the majority of their employees in hadyn venues are GAY

    Finally Haydn would never disdiscrimiate against anyone escpecailly gay people ,

    Maybe people should take a good look at the many gays bars and clubs in the village who clearly disdiscrimiate against straight people everyweekend by turning them away for the gay venues and who are proud to aderviste the fact

  26. They demand straight people work for club. Are they mad?

    Most people in club are straight. Most people in club are white. Do they advertise for straight white friendly people?

  27. @ Haydn Pope “We are looking for some new people to add to our existing excellent team of gay staff who would be better placed to infiltrate / target the straight student community.”

    You advertise for straight people? You also advertise for white people yes? To infiltrate white community yes?

    Stupid ignorant man.

  28. @Hayden,

    I don’t for a moment think that AXM is in any way homophobic, the idea is pretty ridiculous.

    The problem is that the wording in your ad is poor and had it come from a straight employer would have appeared to show a very homophobic attitude which would deserve to be challenged. Say the Bulls had put out the ad in Cornwall.

    Where we are right now is that we are seen taking people to court for transgressing the equality laws against the LGBT community, my expectation is that it will not be long until they are used against us and they will win because we are not really accepting that the laws affect us all, not just those discriminating against minorities.

    I agree that the reactions by some are way over the top but maybe there is a little message there for you to look at how careful you are in the way you express yourselves. You may have meant to say ideally straight, but what was reported here said

    “Ideally 2 blokes/1 girl. Straight, Good looking, Outgoing etc”

    So what you actually said was “Ideally 2 Blokes/1 girl” and no qualifier on the straight requirement. That full stop was the killer.

    Small point I know, but look at the result.

    Times have changed and no one will be allowed these kind of loose adverts, but don’t worry after a couple of decades you will have all the stock phrases you need to cover your asses, lol.

    Oh and you probably fell foul of the sex discrimination rules too by stating, even ideally, that the roles were gender specific when there would appear to be no GOR for that either.

    So I’m not really complaining or having a go at you, more saying you need to be careful and maybe more aware of how the law will affect the LGBT community as well.

    Good Luck with the recruiting anyway.

  29. A rather silly advert by an person who clearly knows nothing about advertising. “infiltrating the straight student population” does not require one to be straight or to be straight acting.
    The hilarity that you might achieve anything more than ridicule for a blatantly dumb idea will keep me laughing for at least the next hour.

  30. david skinner 24 Jan 2011, 11:01pm

    Peter Tatchell in his article “Beyond Equality” complained that a homogenous heterosexual society was boring , whereas a heterogeneous homosexual society was invigorating and interesting. Well it seems now that a homogeneous homosexual society is also boring . Well it seems that some folks can never be pleased.

  31. He’s just being a gay businessman – figuring out how to exploit the pink pound. If we don’t like it, we shouldn’t go to his establishments. Personally, I dislike his attitude of being “entitled” to discriminate on sexuality.

  32. I didn’t realise the barman’s sexuality affected service THAT much!

  33. The reason THEY … drink in this place is PRICE no other reason
    You get money back on a card for every drink you buy
    In the summer most people buy thier drinks from there and then leav to stand somewhere else
    I dought they THEY are homophobic just PROPER stupid for placeing such an ad and being owners of bars It makes me question thier understanding of the equality act ???

    My last thought is are there no LGBT students in Manchester ?

  34. Cruz it is then …

  35. @david skinner — “Peter Tatchell in his article “Beyond Equality” complained that a homogenous heterosexual society was boring , whereas a heterogeneous homosexual society was invigorating and interesting. Well it seems now that a homogeneous homosexual society is also boring . Well it seems that some folks can never be pleased.”

    1. Do you think all LGBT people have exactly the same views ?
    2. If so, why ? Does the people in your group share precisely the same views ?

  36. @Bobby B — “Finally Haydn would never disdiscrimiate against anyone escpecailly gay people”.

    But the original message said “Looking for flyerers/pr people for Downtown. Ideally 2 blokes/1 girl. Straight, Good looking, Outgoing etc. 20 hours per week, £6 an hour.”

    1. How is this not discrimination ?

  37. Steve@GayWebHosting 25 Jan 2011, 11:27am

    Amazing. Truly amazing. With all of the (genuine) discrimination and homophobia out there, so much attention is devoted to this?

    Amazing. Well, maybe AXM will decide to keep more of its profits for itself in future instead of putting them back into the gay community it serves? I know I would given this sort of hassle!

    With so many instances of genuine homophobia out there, (largely coming from churches), its a shame everyone does not pick their battles a little more carefully.

  38. Steve@GayWebHosting 25 Jan 2011, 11:37am

    @ Harry.

    “But the original message said “Looking for flyerers/pr people for Downtown. Ideally 2 blokes/1 girl. Straight, Good looking, Outgoing etc. 20 hours per week, £6 an hour.”

    1. How is this not discrimination ?”

    Get a life! He also says “Good looking” Yeah… Lets hear it for the UGLY people! How unfair and discriminatory to not want hideous looking staff!

    Whilst I agree that (unfair) discrimination is not right… Soon, employers will be REQUIRED to notify the local jobcentre when they have ANY vacancy, and then simply take whoever is sent by them! No choice in the matter… Lets face it guys, this is hardly the best way to ´change hearts and minds´ is it? Preaching to the already-CONVERTED?

    Also, be real… All employment legislation aside, how do you THINK employers actually hire staff these days? There is ALWAYS discrimination going on! I discriminate against everyone I do not end-up hiring. I either dont like their attitude, their appearance, their stated views on their work-ethic, customer service etc, or in fact anything else I like to help me decide that they will not be suitable for my company.. The reasons to decide on one applicant over another are purely personal and are MINE.

    The best way to change peoples attitudes is not beating already VERY gay-friendly employers over the head for (wrongly) perceived homophobia!

  39. Tim Hopkins 25 Jan 2011, 12:05pm

    The law on sexual orientation discrimination is the law; it’s important; Stonewall and many others worked very hard to achieve it because there is a real problem with homophobic discrimination and harassment in some workplaces.

    How can we expect anyone to take the law seriously, so we can deal with the really homophobic employers, if within our own community we just ignore the law?

  40. We’ve been working toward LGBT equality in employment for decades in America, so it was a shock to realize (and thank you, Tim Hopkins) that it’s only been in place in over there for 7 years. My Canadian and UK “friends” dismiss us (backward American yokels) and our terrible benighted policies so often that I’d thought that marriage and employment equality had been the rule for many, many years, instead of barely breaking into double digits.
    That said, the ad was clumsy – but seems to have been done without malice or animus (even a kind of twisted inclusionism). Of course, a longer advert is more expensive to place. Wedge in copious explanatory padding as to their “equal opportunity for all, and by ‘ideally’ we don’t really mean you have to be straight, but it’s for one of our very few straight venues and we’re trying to offer equal opportunity to straight people” (and that’s a short version) and the advert is running to twice as much space.
    “Flyerers” aren’t top wage-earning positions; adverts for them WILL tend to run short length.

  41. @Steve@GayWebHosting — I was asking Bobby B how he could reconcile what the message said with what Haydn said. I made no comment about whether I think this is the most important issue facing gay people to-day.

    Obviously employers discriminate when they select someone for a job — this is discrimination in the sense of distinguishing. But there’s a negative sense of the word, which is rejecting someone based on unfounded, irrational prejudice. I’m not too keen on that, and I think it sets a poor example, which homophobes may exploit.

  42. Steve Crossley 25 Jan 2011, 2:05pm

    Oh my… so a company wants to diversify it’s workforce, and of all people it’s the LGBT community that are screaming about it?

    Shouldn’t diversity be celebrated? So a 90% LGBT workforce, the aim to add a few straight staff into the mix is hardly a crime, but more a blessing, and yet it’s something the small few of you can get your claws into and complain about.

    Homophobia doesn’t make me ashamed of who I am, my sexuality…. but people like you, that’s what makes me ashamed to be who and what I am.

  43. Stuarrt Donnelly 25 Jan 2011, 2:41pm

    After reading all these comments its quite clear that there are alot of gay passionate people out there which is great. Its a shame they are using their energy to try knock someone who has done so much for ‘Manchesters Gay Village’. Go use your witty clever comments on something worth while. Or rather than spend your time attacking try and do something posstive like Haydn has youself! Thank God Haydn lets things like this blow over his head because the Gay Village would be alot worse than what it is without his input.

  44. Surely the interview/application form would be the place to decide who is suitable? Don’t mention any specfic sexuality on the advert.

    The purpose of flyer staff is to go to the places that the type of people you want in your venue can be found.

    In the interview or on the application form you simply ask them where and how they would achieve a succesful flyering event for the bar/club.

    Gay people wil probably succeed more if you are asking about attracting gay customers. Straights will probably succeed more for stragight venues. Everyone’s had the same opportunity to apply and show their talents and if a gay person shows a sound knowledge of straight bar culture then they would be hired on that merit.

    It sounds like this guy has his ideas right but has failed to successfully express them. Perhaps he was trying to cut corners by stating publicly that he thought straights would be more successful, thereby saving the time spent sifting hopefuls who didn’t meet the criteria out at interview/application stage. That’s why it smacks of homophobia, when, it would seem that he is no homophobe – perhaps just a bit lax when it comes to thoughtful, sensitive advertising.

  45. Could it be that the ad forgot the word «-looking» to be placed after Straight ?
    Just asking…

  46. BouncerMan in Black 26 Jan 2011, 3:33am

    How stupid.

    Everybody knows that all students are straight, so they all deserve to be offered bits of annoying paper by straight pestering people.

    I wouldn’t personally want to be handed a flyer by a poof or lezzer – just in case it had their germs on it and i caught their illness and then became GAY!

    [cheek, tongue, in]

  47. Justin Case 15 Apr 2011, 6:57pm

    This is the same owner who will only employ young women behind the bar and for the door staff at the AXM in Southport. Don’t believe me? Look for AXM Southport on facebook and read the last few day’s posts.

    “Still need a reliable door girl. Big smile a must :) for sat night
    Wednesday at 6:21pm via iPhone”

  48. One of the ONLY places a gay person can apply for a job to without the fear of being denied over the “preferable” straight man is gay bars. And now gay bars don’t even want gay men working there. A gay bar in Liverpool recently posted a job advert for bar staff who would “preferably be straight and muscley”

    I get denied bar work because I’m not a girl with big boobs, and now I get denied bar work by A GAY BAR because i’m not straight and in shape.

    Disgusting discrimination, from your own people no less.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.