‘Big gay kiss-in’ staged at London Sainsbury’s after homophobia row
14th August 2016
Almost 200 people descended upon a Sainsbury’s supermarket to stage a mass ‘kiss-in’ after a same-sex couple was told off for holding hands in the store.
Thomas Rees and Joshua Bradwell were in the shop when a security guard escorted them out, explaining a woman had complained about their behaviour.
Mr Rees told the BBC they had been holding hands and that he may have put an arm around his partner’s waist.
The story caught wind online after Mr Rees expressed his disappointment at the UK supermarket giant on Twitter.
He told the BBC the incident “knocked me for six”, but since the incident they had received messages of support from around the world.
The incident was picked up by UK journalist Michael Segalov, who organised the Facebook event called The Big Gay Kiss In: Sainsbury’s Hackney for Saturday night.
Mr Segalov encouraged people to meet at the supermarket and “hold hands, pucker up, and tell Sainsbury’s enough is enough”.
Hundreds of protestors reportedly danced outside the Hackney Road store before kissing in the aisles.
On the Facebook event page, Mr Segalov said it was not the first time a same-sex couple was warned for showing affection in the store.
“In a Brighton Sainsbury’s just a couple of years ago, a security guard did the same thing: telling two women that kissing was ‘inappropriate’ too,” he said.
“Back then, the supermarket chain promised us they’d sort out their training to ensure this could never happen again. Guess what? It has.
“Last time thousands of people descended on the Sainsbury’s branch for big [consensual] kiss, puckering up in the aisles in an act of defiance.
“Showing affection to someone, whatever their gender or sexuality, is something to be celebrate.”
Sainsbury’s has since apologised for the incident and offered Mr Rees a £10 ($16.90) voucher — a peace offering Mr Segalov said was not enough.
“In a year that’s seen attacks all too often on the LGBT community, it’s high time that Sainsbury’s — with profits over £500 million this year — put their money where their mouths are and use their resources to ensure that homophobia becomes a thing of the past.
“A £10 voucher just doesn’t cut it.”