news

Scottish hotel loses five-star status over owner's homophobia

2016-10-28
A Scottish hotel had its five-star status suspended following homophobic comments made by its owner, Scottish news site STV. During a speech at the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen on October 20, owner Stewart Spence allegedly said he was "lucky" to never have hired a gay employee. It's reported that he also made offensive comments about John Travolta. One hotel guest, who spoke to STV anonymously, said: "The room went so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Not one person defended him afterwards. "It's a shame that the dinner was about emerging talent in our industry and he was making a statement that there are certain people we don't welcome - which is not true." Spence later apologised in an email to the guests, saying: "I made some very ill-advised comments at the dinner last night and I am absolutely mortified this morning and would unreservedly like to sincerely apologise for the offence caused. "I don't know what I was thinking. I was hoping to raise a few laughs around the seventies theme and while the words I used may have, regrettably, been commonplace in that generation, they were still entirely unacceptable." The hotel, a member of VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) scheme, has since had its five-star status suspended and been removed from the agency’s website. A spokesperson for VisitScotland told STV: "We have advised the hotel that their membership of QA and listing on the website is suspended until such time as we have received written evidence that they do not operate a discriminatory policy with staff and customers and that they both fully understand and meet, in full, the requirements of appropriate legislation, "We have also advised them of training and support available through organisations such as Stonewall." The suspension will remain until the hotel can provide proof that it welcomes LGBT guests and staff.