THE LGBT bar the Little John has had its licence revoked, causing the bar’s owner to claim homophobic victimisation.
Mr Ransome, the owner, has kept the bar open and serving whilst he fights the decision of York City Council court to close the establishment down.
Mr Ransome had the following to say: “we think that the actions taken against us have been completely malicious, and we class it as homophobia.”
The bar’s licence was revoked after it emerged that two counts of cocaine had been found in the flat above the bar. Mr Ransome has claimed the cocaine was for private consumption, and reiterated the bars no-drugs policy.
After the first count of cocaine was found the Little John was fined 200 pounds and given a caution, but it was the second discovery of cocaine which resulted in court action and subsequent closure of the drinking establishment.
Emma Brownbill, LGBT represenative, said: “it’s obviously disappointing to lose any venue, while it is not York’s only LGBT friendly bar, many York students and alumni will be sad to see it close.”
“We think that the actions taken against us have been completely malicious,
and we class it as homophobia. ”
The Little John Owner – Chris Ransome
Brownbill was confident that the LGBT community would band together and continue to support whatever venue came to replace Little Johns.
Mr Ransome continued that he felt his establishment had been singled-out unfairly; citing the council’s decision to insist on marshalls at the door, rather than the usual doorsafe which other bars are required to have. He emphasised Little Johns “had never had any real trouble here before.”
Jannette Robinson, owner of Jacks Coffee Café, adjacent to Little Johns, supported the court’sdecision to revoke the licence.
She said that the revocation was entirely justified and quashed suggestions of homophobia as claimed by Mr Ransome.
York City Council defended its decision with the evidence of an employee smashing a bottle in the street, after taking it off a customer, which was caught on CCTV.
In addition, evidence was present in court showing a lax smoking policy; a customer who asked where to smoke was told “anywhere”.
The customer was not directed towards the designated area, outside the building and in accordance with national guidelines.
Bob Hughes, YUSU Welfare Officer, stated his intention to support the LGBT community in finding alternatives for their events. He commented that: “It’s a massive shame that Little John’s has shut, although I understand the reasons.”
A decision over the future of the bar is expected to be reached by the council before Christmas.