Ho­tel chain apol­o­gises for tweet about de­bate

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

A HO­TEL chain has apol­o­gised af­ter link­ing a gen­der cam­paign group to “big­otry”.

The Mer­cure Cardiff Hol­land House had said that a tweet about a women’s group de­bate was “unau­tho­rised” and did not re­flect the ho­tel’s po­si­tion.

On Thurs­day the ho­tel took to so­cial me­dia to an­nounce it would no longer host a de­bate or­gan­ised by cam­paign group A Woman’s Place.

The event, ad­ver­tised on­line for Thurs­day evening, had been ar­ranged to dis­cuss pro­posed changes to the 2004 Gen­der Recog­ni­tion Act to make the process of legally chang­ing gen­der more sim­ple.

Post­ing on Twit­ter the ho­tel said it did not tol­er­ate “any form of racist, sex­ist or big­oted be­hav­iour”. But the Tweet was later deleted.

At the time a speaker booked to at­tend the event ac­cused the ho­tel of defama­tion.

Union or­gan­iser Ruth Ser­wotka wrote: “I am an ad­ver­tised speaker at the meet­ing tonight. That is a se­ri­ously defam­a­tory tweet and I re­quest you re­move it im­me­di­ately.”

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed calls on so­cial me­dia from trans women sup­port groups to can­cel the event.

A demon­stra­tion was also held on Thurs­day night.

Con­tact­ing the Mer­cure Cardiff Ho­tel one Twit­ter user said: “Please can you ex­plain why you are host­ing the Woman’s Place meet­ing this evening when it is a trans­pho­bic hate group, and noth­ing at all to do with women’s rights. It goes against your LGBTQ policy.”

De­spite the change in venue the women’s group re­ported more than 140 at­ten­dees at the event.

Speak­ing on Thurs­day speaker and for­mer AM for Mid and West Wales He­len Mary Jones said: “I think that the ho­tel’s de­ci­sion is very un­for­tu­nate as A Woman’s Place is not an or­gan­i­sa­tion that sup­ports big­ots or dis­crim­i­na­tion.

“I have fought against prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion all my life.

“The idea that I or any other speak­ers would have any­thing to do with a hate group is ridicu­lous.”

Yes­ter­day a spokesper­son for the Mer­cure ho­tel said the de­ci­sion to can­cel the event was taken in the in­ter­ests of guest and staff safety due to “po­ten­tial” protests.

He said: “The de­ci­sion to can­cel an event on Thurs­day, April 12, at the Mer­cure Cardiff Hol­land House was taken in the best in­ter­ests of ho­tel guests and staff af­ter con­cerns were raised about their safety, which is our pri­or­ity, due to po­ten­tial dis­rup­tion and protests.

“The de­ci­sion in no way im­plied any judge­ment on the views of those or­gan­is­ing the event, or those protest­ing against it. While we are a leader in en­cour­ag­ing di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion in all its forms, it is not our policy to pass com­ment on the view of oth­ers.

“Re­gret­tably an unau­tho­rised tweet was posted on be­half of the ho­tel which did not ac­cu­rately re­flect the po­si­tion of the ho­tel, the Mer­cure brand or Ac­corHo­tels, and which has since been re­moved. We have taken ac­tion to en­sure this can’t be re­peated and are re­view­ing our pro­cesses.

“We apol­o­gise un­re­servedly for any of­fence caused by this mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

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