A Belfast cab firm that sponsors the city’s Pride festival has apologised after one of its taxi drivers allegedly ordered two men to get out of a car for kissing.
The men were among a group of students being taken to The Kremlin, an LGBT night club on Tuesday night when the driver told them to “stop” as the two kissed in the back seat.
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, Mark McLoughlin, who is bisexual, said he was shocked when the driver forced him and his friends out and left them on the side of the road.
The Queen’s University student had taken the cab with his friend Stuart and two female friends.
“Stuart leaned over the in back seat and kissed me on the cheek and neck, and the taxi driver saw it through his rear view mirror and told us to stop,” Mr McLoughlin said he was then ordered out of the cab.
“We were stunned. We said: ‘Are you serious?’ And he said: ‘Yes, I’m not having that in my car’.”
“So we just got out and left and stood at the side of the road and flagged down another taxi, but we rang Fonacab.”
Mr McLoughlin said the kiss wasn’t anything erotic”.
“I couldn’t believe it in this day and age, over something so small.”
He said the two women passengers who witnessed the incident were “very upset” and one began to cry.
In a statement, the firm said: “Fonacab is aware of an alleged incident taking place and we are continuing to conduct an internal investigation into this matter. We have spoken to the customer and have apologised if any offence has been caused.
“However, as this investigation is on-going, it would be unfair to comment in any more detail. We certainly would not condone this type of behaviour in any circumstance and would not tolerate this within our organisation.”
The firm added that it was “totally committed to encouraging equality and diversity and eliminating discrimination in our role as an employer and a supplier of taxi services to all those living in our community”.
“Breaches of our internal policy are taken very seriously and as a sponsor and supporter of Belfast Pride, we have liaised fully with the organisation regarding this particular incident,” it said.