UKIP leader vents at Greggs over mock ‘gender-neutral’ rebranding
UK Independence Party leader Gerard Batten has vented at bakery chain Greggs, after reading a parody headline about the franchise.
The most recent leader of the pro-Brexit UKIP attacked the chain on Tuesday (October 30) after seeing a fake headline from a Twitter parody account in a since-deleted tweet.
Guardian Meme Win, a parody account that posts headlines in the style of The Guardian newspaper, had tweeted: “Greggs is to rebrand in a move towards a gender neutral business model following criticism that their name sounds too male.”
Sharing the mock headline, he wrote: “Criticism from who? Probably someone who doesn’t buy from Greggs. A cheese roll is a cheese roll! When is this madness going to stop?”
The leader went on to accuse Greggs of running a “biased recruitment policy” because “almost all the staff [are] female.”
The fake headline comes after a bakery that sold gender-neutral gingerbread ‘ginger persons’ was attacked online.
The family-run Thomas the Baker in York received an onslaught of abuse over its gingerbread, which it named ‘ginger persons’ in 1983.
Batten’s tweet was shared by the official UKIP account, until followers pointed out that the story is an obvious fake.
Twitter users mocked Batten, describing him as “sharp as a banana.”
UKIP has faced an exodus of moderate members and officials under Batten, who has led a drive to adopt more extreme stances.
The party unveiled a divisive new manifesto last month that included pledges to gut LGBT+ rights laws and ban inclusive sex education in primary schools. Senior UKIP officials at the party’s conference described transgender-inclusive education as “child abuse.”
Two of the party’s MEPs have quit since the manifesto launch. Resigning his UKIP membership, MEP Bill Etheridge told Batten: “The changes you have made since becoming leader have changed the party beyond all recognition. You have allowed your personal obsessions free reign.
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“The party is now seen by large swathes of the British public as a vehicle for hate towards Muslims and the gay community.”
In his resignation on September 26, MEP William Dartmouth also raised homophobia, claiming the party had been “hijacked” by extremists and had become “widely perceived as both homophobic and anti-Islamic.”
The leadership of UKIP’s LGBT+ group resigned en masse in March in protest of the party’s hardline views after Batten appointed Alan Craig to serve as Families and Children spokesman, despite Craig’s long history of extreme views on LGBT+ rights and criticism of gay parenting.
Craig, who has repeatedly referred to the LGBT+ lobby as the ‘Gaystapo’ and other terms evoking Nazi imagery, came under scrutiny during the 2015 election when it emerged he had ties to gay ‘cure’ practitioners.