'Our priority is safety' says White Hart pub in King's Lynn after online abuse from trolls
A pub in Lynn has been forced to apologise after internet abuse from trolls and “anti-vaxers” after suggesting proof of vaccines as a safety measure.
The White Hart in St James Street posted to its Facebook page last week about an upcoming live music event at their premises in a now deleted post, asking patrons for proof their vaccines and suggesting that they wear masks if they want to at the non socially-distanced event.
Trolls descended on the post, as it was shared nationwide, with people as far away as Blackpool commenting on it.
They called the landlord Neal Durose out for “discrimination” in an online attack that has led to an effect on his family’s mental health.
Mr Durose has been the landlord of the pub since August 2019 and the venue has become popular for live music.
He said: “We’ve never had any trouble before and have made efforts to be inclusive with our clientele. Our pub has had more women in than ever before, because they feel safe here and know they won’t get harassed.”
The White Hart issued an apology on Facebook after the backlash.
They said: “We would like to take a moment to explain ourselves regarding our post yesterday on what we were planning to do. It seems as though this has upset a great many people. We had no intention of upsetting anybody, and unreservedly apologise for that.
"We are not discriminatory in any way. As we’re now entering a period of uncertainty, we thought we had the right plan in place to ensure that our venue remains a covid safe environment as it always has been.
"We took that decision, based on information we had at the time. However in hindsight, it was not the correct approach, this plan has now been scrapped. Nobody has had to deal with anything like this before in our life time. People’s safety is our top priority. Once again we apologise for the upset this may have caused.”
People rushed to defend the pub, calling naysayers “flat-earthers” and “anti-vaxers” online.
Marcus Brown said: “People are still hoping to ruin a bloke’s business because he has a different opinion from flat earthers.”
Triston Finnis said: “Anyone not agreeing with the White Hart can show their disdain by simply not visiting the pub, there are plenty more in the town. Was there stance really hurting anyone? Knowing Neal and Anita they were probably just looking out for the safety of their customers.”
Lizzy Alexander said: “I’m sorry people are being so nasty to you, you were only doing what you thought was right and putting your customers and their safety first. Plenty of people love your pub (heart emoji).”
Mr Durose said: “We didn’t think we were offending anyone, or discriminating against anyone. We are now looking for proof of a negative Covid test for entry, as many local businesses can’t survive a covid closure nor risking the health of their patrons. This has been a horrible experience and affected our mental health, people think they can say what they want online.”
It’s not unusual for events and venues to require proof of vaccinations, after reports of nightclubs and large scale events taking on this policy in the name of safety.
Similar social media backlash was experienced by The Murderers pub in Norwich after they enforced the two vaccine rule.
One White Hart patron, who wishes to remain anonymous said: “It’s toxic. These people are trying their best and these trolls and anti-vaxers think they can say what they like online it’s disgusting. They aren’t running a pub, it’s not their life, but they still go out of their way to damage the livelihood of decent people. I’ve always felt safe there and I’m thankful it’s a covid safe venue. No person should have to take back what they said because of trolls online.”