Denmead pub landlord says sorry after Facebook post about black people was branded 'racist'

A PUB landlord has apologised for a Facebook status about black people and has insisted he ‘is not a racist’.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 3:33 pm

Steve Pratt, owner of the Fox & Hounds pub in Denmead, has come under fire for a status shared last night on the boozer’s Facebook account.

The 53-word comment was deleted ‘within five minutes’ for ‘not being worded correctly’ after it was labelled ‘racist’ by one of the pub’s followers, Mr Pratt said.

In the status, Mr Pratt wrote: ‘I’d always considered all people equal. All races and colours but I cannot believe what is happening here in our beautiful country.

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Landlord Steve Pratt of The Fox & Hounds pub in School Lane, Denmead, has apologised for a comment made on Facebook which was branded 'racist'. Picture: Sarah Standing (180807-7850)

‘No respect at all. WTF is happening? Am I alone in thinking this? I never thought anything before this. But now when I see a black person I do.’

Explaining himself, Mr Pratt said the status was meant to reflect how he had never focused on any racial divides in society until now and that in his eyes, everyone had always been equal.

He insisted the status was not critical of black people and added the status was prompted by scenes of disorder in London at protests marking the death of American George Floyd.

The 46-year-old black man died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder by US officials.

Meanwhile, Mr Floyd’s death sparked anti-racism protests across the globe, including in Portsmouth earlier this week.

Speaking about the Facebook status, Mr Pratt said: ‘It came out worded wrong… It’s really hard for me to explain. I’m not racist at all. I’m from Bradford and when I was young some of my best friends were black.

‘I was shocked I have been called racist. What I’d meant was that I’ve always looked at everyone the same – I have never noticed any colour or race anywhere.

‘But because I couldn’t make it clear, I deleted it. I tried to put it on again to make it clear but I couldn’t.

‘I have always looked at everyone as equal. I’m not racist at all and I’m sorry if it caused offence. I didn’t mean it to.’

His apology has been welcomed by Simon Magorian, one of the co-ordinators of Portsmouth Stand Up to Racism.

He said: ‘He has probably expressed himself badly. I don’t like what he said. He needs to sort himself out. But I’m not asking for him to be sacked.

‘He might be looking at the wrong news items and has got carried away. He has apologised and perhaps we can draw a line under that.’

The Fox and Hounds is based in School Lane and is currently delivering food parcels to vulnerable people during the coronavirus lockdown.

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