Thomas Rees and his boyfriend Joshua Bradwell were reportedly removed from Sainsbury’s supermarket in London after a customer complained about their “immoral” and “inappropriate” hand-holding.
They said a security guard pulled them aside after they finished shopping and told them about the complaint, according to Pink News.
After the incident, Rees took to Twitter: “To the bigot who complained about my bf & I holdin hands & the security guard at @sainsburys who felt the need to ‘talk’ to us outside: (middle finger emoji).”
Pink News reported that a Sainsbury customer service representative Tweeted to the couple with a £10 gift card offer (about $13 U.S.) for their troubles.
But that wasn’t enough.
Last Saturday at 6:30 p.m., hundreds gathered for a “big gay kiss in” inside of the store. Same-sex couples were welcomed and encouraged to join in and show displays of affection in the name of equality.
“In a year that’s seen attacks all too often on the LGBT community, it’s high time that Sainsbury’s—with profits over £500 million this year—put their money where their mouths are and use their resources to ensure that homophobia becomes a thing of the past. a £10 voucher just doesn’t cut it,” event organizer Michael Segalov wrote on Facebook.
Wielding rainbow flags and blasting Diana Ross and Donna Summer songs, dozens of couples locked lips at the store. According to LGBTQ Nation, Sainsbury’s supported the protest and offered snacks to the demonstrators.
“When your community come behind and say ‘you were right and you are right,’ all that does is amplify your feelings,” Rees told The Guardian. “We were right to complain and do what we’ve done and fight those people who said we were wrong.”
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told The Guardian: “It’s been a really great event and an important opportunity for the community to show their support. We do our best to make sure everyone feels welcome in our stores but occasionally we make mistakes. We are working hard to make sure lessons are learnt.”