Search

Gay group’s praise for Newham College despite homophobic rant teacher ‘bizarre’, says Peter Tatchell

12:13 17 January 2014

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Archant

EXCLUSIVE: The decision to include Newham College on a list of 100 “gay-friendly” employers despite a homophobic rant made by a department head was criticised yesterday by Peter Tatchell.

The human rights campaigner, who has been following events at the college for a year, said gay rights group Stonewall’s praise for Newham College was “bizarre” given its clear failings in this case.

Head of performing arts Mark Walcott was fired in December after a recording from 2012 of him making homophobic remarks was posted online by staff members who felt a year-long college inquiry into the speech had gone nowhere.

The college’s principal, Denise Brown, who headed the inquiry, stepped down a week later.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Tatchell said: “It is bizarre that Newham College has remained on Stonewall’s workplace equality index, given Mark Walcott’s sustained homophobic outburst and the fact that the college took no action against him for over a year.

“The college only took action after the whole episode was exposed in the national media.”

He added: “I am sure there are some good staff doing good things at the college.

“However, the college administration clearly failed to take proper steps to address a serious homophobic incident when it was first drawn to their attention.”

Stonewall has defended its keeping the college on its Top 100 Workplace Equality Index 2014, calling the teacher’s remarks an “isolated incident” and praising the college’s work on gay equality.

In the 50 minute recording, posted online in November 2013, Mr Walcott is heard to say: “Boys are becoming gay not because they have a gay gene but because they have gay teachers who are indoctrinating them with their gay mentality.”

He is also heard claiming he has asked gay teachers to leave schools, and that their sexuality can stop them doing their jobs properly.

Simon Feeke, Stonewall’s head of workplace programmes, said Newham College has a strong commitment to gay equality “right from the top”.

He said: “Dr Walcott’s comments were absolutely reprehensible. But one individual’s homophobia shouldn’t detract from the fantastic work that many individuals are doing at Newham College to support gay staff and students.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00
Alison Steadman will speak at UEL on Wednesday (picture: PA)

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like working in the acting industry, then wonder no longer.

University of East London
Yesterday, 12:00
Annie Bonus, or Annie Kingsford, was born in Stratford in 1846

Born in Stratford 170 years ago, Anna “Annie” Bonus was the daughter of a prosperous shipbuilder and an Irish/German mother.

Paris
Yesterday, 09:00
The charities will share £30,000

Three groups set to benefit from a share of £30,000 have been announced – and now it’s your turn to decide how much each one will get.

Tesco
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Headway East London volunteers at Carpenters Primary School

Move over, Bob Geldof. Carpenters Primary School might not be able to emulate Live Aid but it does intend to make its mark with a year of fundraising.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Read more
Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe