Bosses at PizzaExpress have been blasted after a pregnant woman and her family were refused entry at one of the chain’s restaurants because they are travellers.
The incident yesterday at the branch in Doncaster’s Dome Leisure Centre was filmed by mum-of-one Chick Wilson and the footage uploaded to Facebook .
She was at the restaurant with her family, including young children to celebrate son David’s fifth birthday.
The shocking clip shows a staff member telling the group: “I can’t allow any of the traveller community in.”
When asked why, he responds: “Because we’ve had far too much trouble in the past.”
Ms Wilson, who is pregnant with twins, revealed the incident had led David to ask her why it’s wrong to be a traveller.
The footage sparked fury on social media, with many claiming the policy was blatant discrimination.
Tracy Cockayne said: “I’m so sorry to read this status it really maddened and saddened me to know this type of bigotry is still happening in 2019. I truly hope everyone boycotts Pizza Express.”
Others called on the family to sue the company. Ms Wilson said she had been contacted by a team specialising in discrimination cases and will be taking action against the chain.
A PizzaExpress spokeswoman said:” PizzaExpress operates a zero tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind and the safety of our customers and team members is paramount. We urge the customer to get in touch so we may provide further context.
“While no excuse for this customer’s experience, further investigation has revealed the manager was acting in accordance with police advice following previous disturbances.
“Our teams can be faced with difficult decisions, and we trust them to use their judgement to the best of their ability though this isn’t always easy. We’d like to apologise unreservedly for any unintentional offence caused to the customer or her family, and we hope to welcome them back soon.”
In 2015 JD Wetherspoon were ordered to pay £24,000 to eight travellers refused entry to The Coroner, in north London.
The case followed a similar incident at The Tivoli Wetherspoon, in Cambridge, where three travellers were refused entry following a funeral.
The chain was found to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
Chairman Tim Martin apologised and said the company would learn from its mistakes.