DIY company Wickes is finding itself in hot water after its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Fraser Longden, made remarks stating that customers who hold gender-critical views are not welcome in their stores.
Wickes previously faced criticism in 2022 for their float at Brighton Pride, which carried the slogan ‘No LGB without the T.’
This Slogan Is “Discrimination”
Gender-critical activists argued that this slogan discriminated against gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals.
It Was Meant to Show Support
During the Trans summit organized by Pinknews, Longden defended the pride float carried out by Wickes, stating that it was meant to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, acknowledging that changing the minds of transphobic people would be challenging.
The COO Explained His Stance
Longden went on to state that the majority of the UK population is “slightly ignorant” about Trans issues but holds kind intentions.
A Small Minority Full of “Hot Air”
He referred to anti-trans activists as a small minority full of “hot air,” suggesting that if they chose to shop at Wickes and behaved in a discriminatory manner, they would not be welcome in their stores.
The Company Received Widespread Criticism
Longden’s remarks quickly ignited heated backlash, leading to a five-point drop in Wickes’ share price. On Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottWickes started trending, with thousands of tweets expressing dissatisfaction with the company’s stance.
Calls for a Boycott
Some users even called for a BudLight-like backlash, referring to the beer brand’s collaboration with Trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which resulted in substantial financial losses and widespread condemnation.
Prominent Individuals Shared Their Opposition
Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, known for her opposition to Trans inclusion in sports, criticized Wickes.
They’ll Be Taking Their Business Elsewhere
She wrote, “So Wickes thinks anyone in the UK that thinks biological females deserve fair and safe sport is homophobic! That’s an awful lot of mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, and of course females who’ll be taking their business elsewhere.”
Does It Reflect the Majority Customer Base?
Other commentators, such as James Esses, labeled Longden’s comments offensive, divisive, and discriminatory, questioning how Wickes’ majority customer base would feel about being held in such disdain by senior management.
In response to the backlash, Wickes issued an email to customers addressing the hashtags and the increased scrutiny on social media.
His Comments Had Been Taken Out of Context
The email emphasized that Longden is a passionate supporter of inclusion, diversity, and the LGBTQ+ community and that his comments had been taken out of context.
Commitment to Being an Inclusive Employer
Wickes affirmed its commitment to being an inclusive employer, respecting differing opinions and beliefs, while excluding those who engage in abusive behavior.
Wickes Received Support
While facing criticism, Wickes also received support for its stance on Trans inclusion.
Left-wing commentator Owen Jones commended the company, emphasizing that there is no LGB without the T, as all members of the LGBTQ+ community face backlash based on gender expectations.
How Can You Boycott If You’re Banned?
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
A Twitter user commented, “Transphobes are told they’re not welcome in stores, so they’re boycotting the store, therefore agreeing not to come into the store they’re already not welcome in. So Wickes are winning, but the transphobes are trying to give the impression that they are.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / ViDI Studio. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: The Pink News