Theatre accused of ‘sexuality’ discrimination after lesbians told to leave

The National Theatre has denied allegations of "gender or sexuality" discrimination after a group, including lesbian activists, were told to leave.

Anne Ruzylo and around 17 other people, including other lesbians and straight men and women, visited on Friday, the night before London Pride celebrations.

Anne, a lesbian activist, was wearing a T-shirt which words read: "Lesbian: a woman who loves other women" but she claims her clothing was deemed potentially "upsetting and could be seen as hateful".

But the theatre says Anne and her pals were asked to leave the venue on the South Bank following a "series of disturbances".

"The duty manager came and spoke to a few of us and said that there were trans staff coming on duty at the next shift change who could find our t-shirts upsetting and could be seen as hateful," Anne said.

"I told him that we were here for something to eat and drink and we were being discriminated against. He told us we had to leave and returned the money to a couple who’d paid for a drink."

She told i : "At no point were we abusive to staff, we were very polite and respectful.

"The NT have defamed and discriminated against us which goes against our protected characteristics as set out in the EA 2010."

However, National Theatre says the "reluctant" decision was reached after witnesses saw the group refuse "to put placards out of sight that featured messages which upset other customers" and display "abusive behaviour" toward staff.

In a statement given to the publication, the theatre's joint chief executive Lisa Burger said: "While investigations into the incident are ongoing, multiple witnesses corroborate that a group who attended the Green Room restaurant on Friday July 5 were ultimately asked to leave the premises as a result of a series of disturbances.

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