Anti-gay comments prompt reprimand

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 13:00 20/02/2013

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A bouncer has been reprimanded and could face further consequences after he kicked two Nelson men out of a Bridge St bar at the weekend for kissing.

A 19-year-old Nelson man, who did not want to be named, said he was at Malbas bar on Bridge St in the early hours of Sunday morning, dancing with friends on the dancefloor.

When he and another man kissed, a bouncer came up to them and told them to leave as they were gay and Malbas was not a gay bar.

Manager Anja Nicholson quickly became involved, telling the pair to stay, but after returning to the bar the bouncer again told them they had to leave. On Sunday Ms Nicholson contacted the man to apologise.

She said the bouncer had told her it was a matter of security, as the two men were getting bad looks from other patrons.

They had heard of a fight breaking out in another bar for similar reasons, and the bouncer had wanted to avoid an incident. She had disagreed, saying it was a breach of human rights.

"It was a bad judgment call from the bouncer, who probably should have asked for advice. His opinions and views don't represent our company's policies and company's views."

The bouncer had been reprimanded, and she said further action could be taken by the bar's owner, including an apology.

The owner was to brief the staff on the incident and on how to handle similar matters in the future.

The man said the incident had left him angry and upset. "Something like that, that's really personal. I would have understood if I was very drunk but I wasn't. I never would have expected that."

This had been the first time he had experienced any prejudice when out on the town in Nelson, but he had heard of other incidents along the same lines, and the incident had made him wary of going out.

He praised Ms Nicholson for trying to resolve the situation, but said the bouncer was to blame, and he felt it should be he who should apologise.

The incident exposed a double-standard on his part, especially considering the behaviour of other patrons.

"They are worried about kicking us out, but there are other people basically having sex on the dancefloor."

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- The Nelson Mail

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