A group of angry residents gathered outside newly opened bar The Bonneville last night calling for the pub to be shut down after it posted tweets about a man who went there looking for help after being stabbed at the weekend.
Bar owner Ruairi Gilles spoke to the protesters who were calling for a boycott of the pub on Lower Clapton Road. They also placed tea towel banners on the building with messages such as “Bye Bye Bonneville”.
On Saturday night, an unidentified man went to the Clapton bar after being injured on Urswick Road, nearby. Soon after, the bar staff posted a photograph of the floor covered in blood along with the tweet:
“Some kid got stabbed over the road and decided to run into ours. Great look for our first week”.
A flood of angry tweets criticising the bar’s reaction followed.
Since then, the bar has deleted the post and on Sunday evening, tweeted an official apology about the insensitive comments.
After last nights events, we would like to apologise profusely for the comments on twitter, which were of course very insensitive and have
— The Bonneville (@BonnevilleE5) June 15, 2014
now been removed. At approximately 6pm on Saturday 14th June, a young man in is early 20’s entered our bar. He had an injury on his upper — The Bonneville (@BonnevilleE5) June 15, 2014
[This tweet was recently deleted from the @BonnevilleE5 account]
According to the owners, the tweets were published by a member of the staff that no longer works in the bar.
We take fully responsibility for the appalling comments made. The member of staff who tweeted them is now no longer in our employment.
— The Bonneville (@BonnevilleE5) June 17, 2014
The delayed apology generated mixed reactions on the social media and the incident raised larger concerns about East London gentrification. While most of the replies criticised the bar for using the situation to get media coverage, others felt that social media users were overreacting and blaming the bar for Hackney’s current social situation.
Ruairi Gilles, owner of the bar, said: “The reaction of genuine Hackney residents is totally justified, those tweets were horrible. Unfortunately, a lot of reaction was from non residents and those using the whole thing as a platform to slam the gentrification of East London, which is really sad when there was a really serious incident involved. Lots of people targeted us as hipsters or yuppies or posh kids, which is just bizarre. My brother and I come from a working class London family. We worked really hard and put our heart and soul in to this place. The pub was empty for the best part of two years before we leased it. We plan to be here for a long time, we’re not just a popup cashing in on the area.”
The Bonneville also released a statement on Facebook saying that the man was injured on his upper left arm and emergency services were called by the staff, despite the victim just wanting to call his friends.
The man is now stable but does not wish to make a statement or cooperate with the police.