Ikea in Valley Park has been using security guards to vet the ethnicity of people arriving at the store’s car park and trying to ban anyone who appears to be a “Gypsy” from entering. The store’s management claims it is doing so with the approval of Croydon Council.
Dawn Foster – a regular contributor to The Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” section – blogged about an incident involving Luke Massey, from Streatham, and his visit to the Swedish-owned household store. Another shocking story about Croydon has now been picked up by the nationals.
What the Telegraph and Independent‘s reports today lack is the audio clip that Massey recorded when confronting the security guard about the incident:
Massey told Foster: “I went back to remonstrate with the parking attendant and I recorded the attached audio clip of him saying that ‘IKEA has every right’ not to allow Gypsies in because they’re a problem. I obviously told him that this was unacceptable.
“I’m guessing you know that Romany Gypsies have been recognised as an ethnic group under the 1976 Race Relations act so this constitutes overt racial discrimination. He said it was store policy and I should go and speak with the manager.
“I thought the whole thing was appalling… Their customer relations are so poor that you can’t even email them so I have to send them a written letter. I just think it’s outrageous and I’d like people to take them up on it.”
The Daily Telegraph quotes a spokesperson for The Gypsy Council as saying: “God help anyone who they think looks like a Gypsy. Lots of Gypsies don’t walk around with big earrings.”
The Telegraph quotes Garry Deakin, the Ikea store manager at Croydon, defending the practice, in which he reveals that Ikea had consulted and got permission for its actions from Croydon Council.
“After discussions with both the local traveller liaison officer and Croydon Council, Ikea Croydon implemented preventative procedures to secure the car park, including a security officer to patrol the entry to the car park to prevent the mobile homes entering the car park,” Deakin is quoted as saying.
NEXT WEEK: Croydon Council approves private landlords placing cards in newsagents’ windows offering flats to let with “Whites Only” scrawled on the bottom.
Or maybe not.
Our council supporting Ikea’s astonishing attitude is less surprising when you consider that the husband of a Conservative Croydon councillor managed to post an anti-Gypsy article on his website, and has never been publicly sanctioned by his party or the Tory youth wing of which he is a prominent member. Nor has the councillor publicly distanced herself from the racist blog post.
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- ‘Are you a Gypsy?’ Ikea tells caravan owner that Travellers are barred from its car parks (independent.co.uk)
- Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game (insidecroydon.com)
- Council to spend £1m to furnish its new headquarters (insidecroydon.com)
- Racist article by councillor’s husband is widely condemned (insidecroydon.com)