A large protest of hundreds of people gathered outside the John Snow pub in Soho, central London earlier this evening in reaction to a gay couple being ejecting from the venue for kissing.
The protest-come-party, originally planned as a ‘gay kiss-in’ from within the venue, was re-located to outside the pub after the establishment’s management decided to close it for the day at 3pm.
One protester pinned a rainbow flag to the door frame of the pub, while others posted flyers of men in varying states of undress to the windows. Another man held a placard saying “I want to blow you all” in large letters with “(a small kiss)” written much smaller below.
Couples kissed, while others simply enjoyed the opportunity to party in the pleasant spring weather.
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell said :”Although much of London is gay-friendly, the apparent discrimination against Jonathan and James shows that pockets of prejudice remain, even in gay Soho.”
More than 800 people pledged to attend the demonstration in support of the gay couple, who were kicked out on Wednesday evening.
Jonathan Williams, 26, and Jamie Bull, 23, were on a first date in the pub when a woman claiming to be the landlady allegedly ordered them to leave.
The couple say they were kicked out for quietly kissing in a corner and a witness backed up their claims. Jamie Morton said the kissing was “innocent”.
Mr Williams continued: “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. “
But the drinker who first complained about the couple claimed they were “over the top”.
Gary from Richmond, who did not give his surname, told BBC 5 Live: “I have gay friends and lesbian friends. They were asked by the barman to moderate their behaviour, which they didn’t do. It was more than a short kiss. It was a full on snog.”
Westminster Council record the managers of the John Snow to be Carla Cookson and Graham Jackson. The licencee is listed as Thomas and the landlord to be Thomas Jeffrey Paget.