G-A-Y club owner apologises after blaming ‘Somalis’ for rise in crime
The owner of gay nightclubs Heaven and G-A-Y has apologised after suggesting that people from Somalia are responsible for rising crime in London.
Club owner Jeremy Joseph made the comments on a Facebook post, after a string of shocking attacks in the capital.
He wrote: “In the 9 days while I’ve been away, there has been 2 stabbings that I know of in central London, one was fatal, the scum gangs, somalians, drug dealers are on the increase.
“2017 New Year Resolution is to claim Soho back and get the scum off the street.
“The rise in crime is caused by the government cuts, Metropolitan Police Service are over stretched and don’t have the budget they need to fight crime, I don’t know the answer, but it’s time to try and find it. I want a safer Soho for 2017.”
The suggestion that “Somalians” were responsible for a rise in crime led to a string of angry responses.
Mr Joseph has since retracted the comments and apologised.
In a statement today he wrote: “I write this with a heavy heart and literally feel physically sick about what has happened over the the last 48 hours culminating in my being perceived as a racist.
“I put up a status that was badly worded and in hindsight, I can see why it has caused the offence and outrage it has and would like to state unequivocally that I am truly sorry for this.
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“I was upset and saddened by the 2nd stabbing in 10 days in Soho, which has been taken over by knife-wielding gangs who consistently pose a threat to members of our community in general and have targeted popular gay nightspots as easy-pickings.
“The fact that some of these gangs are Somali is irrelevant and I should never have highlighted that fact, even in the heat of the moment which it was.
“Instead, I should have focused on my aim of wanting G-A-Y to be part of a safer Soho: we continue to work with The Met Police to try & make it safe for our customers and the entire LGBTQ Soho community in general which is under all manner of macroeconomic threats, which has seen so many of our gay spaces disappear.
“I hope people will believe me & together move on and work with members of the community including UK Black Pride in what we can do to increase diversity awareness within our community so that mistakes of the kind that I made are not repeated.
“I have reached out to them and hope that they take me up on my offer. Again I want to apologise & wish everyone a Happy New Year.”
A spokesperson for UK Black Pride said: “We welcome discussions about the post which was racist and offended many. We need a strong and inclusive community.”