JD Sports “Suspends” Two Workers After Homophobic Slur Aimed At Customers
Sportswear retailer JD Sports has “suspended” two staff members after a gay couple were allegedly called “battymen”.
The Evening Standard is reporting that three staff members from a JD Sports store have been “suspended” after one shop assistant allegedly called a gay couple “Battymen”.
Gavin Matthews, 35, and his boyfriend Craig Hards were reportedly called “battymen”, a slur word used against gay men, as they shopped for new trainers at their local store in Eltham in south-east London.
Gavin is said to have overheard a male store assistant use the term, which left the couple “mortified”. Mr Matthews also is quoted in saying that he has never been subjected to homophobic abuse in all the time he’s lived in the area, around 30-years.
After making several complaints to head office, he was told that three members of staff had been “suspended” over the incident pending a full investigation.
He told the Standard:
“I was mortified. I have not heard that kind of talk before. I wasn’t expecting to be treated like that as a customer – it was very offensive.
“My first thought was to go over there and speak my mind. He was totally oblivious to the offence he had caused – he was just standing there laughing.”
“If I had been a young person, just coming out, then that would have been even more upsetting.”
Speaking to the Standard Mr Matthews explained the incident:
“There was this shop assistant in my way and I heard him say to his colleague ‘those battymen over there’. He was laughing away as he stood in the shop doorway.
“I looked over at his colleague and he was so embarrassed. By this point my partner came back to me to ask what was going on. I thought I was going to get angry but I just left the store. My partner later said he had had worse [abuse] but I said ‘that is unacceptable’. There is no way that someone in a customer service position should get away with that.”
TheGayUK reached out to JD Sports for comment.