Search

Win a £100 Amazon voucher in this week’s Recorder

On sale today

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

13:28
British Transport Police (BTP) officers have released CCTV images of a person they want to trace after a man was robbed as he withdrew cash from Forest Gate station

British Transport Police (BTP) officers have released CCTV images of a person they want to trace after a man was robbed as he withdrew cash at Forest Gate station.

British Transport Police
13:00
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27:  Canal & River Trust launches pioneering new youth arts project which this week sees 30 students from east London rehearse a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream while travelling in narrow-boats to Shakespeare's birth-place, Stratford-Upon-Avon on June 27, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Canal & River Trust)

Performing arts and media students have embarked on an eight day canal journey from their school in Stratford to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Chobham Academy
10:55
Emmanuel Obasi with his partner Ann

A man who felt powerless to help his seriously ill partner has launched himself into action.

Dr Qadri hopes his works will be used as a way of fighting extremism (Pic by Suleman Hussain)

Forest Gate’s Minhaj-ul-Quran welcomed its world leader Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri to Westminster.

Iraq

Most read news

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder