A gay couple say they were kicked out of a Soho pub last night for kissing.
Jonathan Williams, 26, said he had been enjoying a quiet drink in the John Snow on Broadwick Street with his date James when a customer complained about them.
He said that a woman who claimed to be the publican later approached them and ordered them to leave. He claimed that the couple were then forcibly removed from the bar.
Mr Williams could not be contacted by PinkNews.co.uk this morning, but speaking to So So Gay, he described the alleged incident.
He said that during their first drink, a drunken man had asked them politely to stop kissing. Mr Williams said he politely asked the man, who claimed to be the landlord, to turn away if he was offended.
Mr Williams continued: “Later, when we were kissing – not in any confrontational way, but simply on the mouth – a uniformed member of staff approached us. She said she was the publican, but refused to give us her name, or give her name to the people sitting next to us when they asked. She told us we had to leave, to which we replied that we had no intention to. At that point the man who’d first approached us moved the table so he could get to me and grabbed me by the collar of my suit jacket. He obviously intended to throw me out, but was talked down by a third person who claimed to be a plainclothes police officer.
“After more arguing, raised voices and our repeatedly asking for the woman’s name, we relented when the person claiming to be a plainclothes officer showed me something that looked like a badge. I’m not sure if it was, looking back, but he also gave us what he claimed was his badge number and his name. At that point we left, me shaking with anger and James furious.”
Mr Williams says he has spoken to police about the incident.
A Met police spokesman confirmed that police were investigating the incident. No arrests have been made.
His date, James Bull, said the woman tried to claim that a straight couple would also be asked to leave for kissing.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “I haven’t heard of the pub having a no-kissing policy and I’ve never heard of any straight couple being thrown out for kissing.”
A patron who was seated at the next table, Jamie Morton, told PinkNews.co.uk he too was asked to leave after questioning why the couple were being thrown out.
Mr Morton, who backed up Mr Williams’ version of events, said the couple’s kissing was “innocent, not raunchy”.
He said: “The woman was really aggressive, shouting at them. It’s outrageous, they weren’t doing anything wrong. I was shocked.”
This morning, a woman who answered the phone at the John Smith initially denied any knowledge of the incident, saying: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When pressed by PinkNews.co.uk, she said: “I have every right to kick people out if I wish.”
The woman, who would not give her name, refused to say why the couple had been asked to leave.
The John Snow is a Sam Smith-owned pub in Soho, the heart of London’s gay scene.
The alleged incident mirrors another in a Westminster pub last year.
The deputy manager of the Greencoat Boy allegedly told Labour Party gay group LGBT Labour that he would not have accepted the group’s booking had he have known they were gay.