A bus driver in the United Kingdom was suspended after allegedly refusing to operate a bus supporting Pride events, BBC News reported.
"This bus promotes homosexuality, and I refuse to drive it," he reportedly told passengers in Norwich, England, the outlet said, adding that the bus displayed rainbow-colored numbers in recognition of the city's Pride events in July.
Hey Norwich! We can’t wait to see you today to get you to Norwich Pride! We’ve dug out our famous coloured numbers… https://t.co/AbPUs1R34F— Norwich Park & Ride (@Norwich Park & Ride) 1564211025.0
A passenger shared on Twitter that the bus was delayed while another driver was found — and then she complained to staff at Norwich Park and Ride, BBC News reported.
What did the bus driver's bosses have to say?
Go East Anglia, which runs Konectbus, told the outlet the driver was suspended and an investigation had commenced. The company also noted on Twitter that it "prides itself on values that support diversity and inclusion and has been a champion of Norwich Pride since 2017," BBC News said.
"We particularly want all customers of whatever background or sexual orientation to feel comfortable on our services.," Go East Anglia added, according to the outlet. "As a company we do not condone any behavior from our drivers that does not support this view."
What did an LGBTQ leader have to say?
"Our reaction is this type of prejudiced view is exactly why we started Norwich Pride in 2009, to ensure homophobia is visibly challenged and the city is safe and inclusive for all," Julie Bremner, trustee of Norwich Pride, told BBC News. "We are pleased to see the bus company take action following this complaint. When the buses started showing a rainbow number in 2017, people in our LGBT+ community were delighted as this was another visible symbol to say Norwich welcomes all and is a city of diversity."
But the driver is getting support, too
It appears most of the latest comments on the Norwich Park & Ride tweet are supporting the bus driver:
- "I think the rights of this driver have been compromised! ... I would have driven the bus but would like to think freedom of speech or choice is alive and kicking."
- "Although I do support the rights of homosexuality, I support the rights of the driver."
- "Please give the driver his job back! He has a family to support!!!!!"
- "I'm queer and support equality. But I despise Pride events that have been hijacked by drag queens, fetishists, and bar owners. People should have the democratic right to choose what they support or not. Bus driver just standing up for his own rights of [conscience]. Democracy."
- "People should have the right to do their job without having to make a political statement. The guy just came to work to drive a bus. What would we say if it was promoting Britexit, or some other political agenda. Just let the man drive his bus and keep the politics out of it."
- "What about the rights of people who doesn't want to participate in any gay manifestation??? Is that a crime now??? The world is going crazy. I'm very sorry for the driver."
- "Surely the bus driver has a right to disagree and have an opposing viewpoint without fear of retaliation. If he is having difficulty adjusting to the new situation he should be helped through it not punished."