The LGBT group at European physics lab CERN has spoken out about a targeted campaign of homophobia.
CERN, also known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is famed as the home of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator.
Despite CERN’s highly specialised team on the cutting edge of physics, some of the scientists have spoken out this week about homophobia at the Swiss institution.
Members of the group LGBT CERN say that they have been suffering a prolonged campaign of abuse for years, with their posters defaced with horrific abuse – including the German word ‘Schwein’ (pig) and Bible quotes calling for gays to be “put to death”.
According to the Sunday Times, at least one researcher has been disciplined after they were caught on camera defacing the posters.
British physicist Aidan Randle-Conde, who founded CERN’s LGBT group, told the newspaper: “The continuing defacing of our posters is an unacceptable campaign of hate and intolerance.
“We do keep a track of how many posters get taken down or defaced and over a two-week period roughly one-third can be removed.
“I don’t know who is responsible, although it is probably the work of a few people. In some cases there have been religious texts attached to the posters.”
The issue has gone on for so long that last year, CERN’s director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer was forced to intervene – warning staff that they would be “dealt with accordingly” if found to deface the posters.
However, the abuse has continued.
A spokesperson for CERN said: “CERN considers that these acts are unacceptable, and strongly condemned on various occasions.
“This is in our DNA not only words, and is clearly reflected in our core values and in our code of conduct. Homophobic behaviour is clearly not welcome at CERN and will not be tolerated.”