Autistic girl ordered to remove hood by Old Street bar staff
Apology after incident involving councillor’s daughter at Wetherspoon pub
13 March, 2020 — By Calum Fraser
Cllr Phil Graham: ‘When something like that happens it knocks her back and it is upsetting to see her react and see how she feels’
PUB chain JD Wetherspoon has apologised to an Islington councillor after bar staff demanded his autistic daughter remove her hood.
Cllr Phil Graham was at the Masked Haunt in Old Street on Friday for a meal with his partner and 18-year-old daughter, who sometimes wears her hood up to block out light and noise which she is sensitive to.
A member of staff said the hood had to come down so her face could be seen on cameras.
The teenager then walked out of the pub.
“I was angry and upset because it takes a lot to get her out in the first place, it takes a hell of a lot,” Cllr Graham told the Tribune.
“When something like that happens it knocks her back and it is upsetting to see her react and see how she feels. That is the hardest part. It is distressing enough condition without incidents like this.”
Cllr Graham, who has been a councillor in Bunhill since May 2018, wanted to complain but claims the manager refused to give his name.
He added: “My daughter had freaked out. I think they could have had a bit of common sense. She was here with her elderly parents, it’s not like she was going to rob the tills.”
JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are fully aware of the situation. A member of staff, not the manager, was asked to tell the lady to take her hood off by another member of staff, because the pub had been having issues with people wearing their hoods up in the pub.”
He added “The member of staff was not aware that the lady had autism. For that, we apologise wholeheartedly to the lady and her family. However, it should also be noted that one of the group then came up to the bar and verbally abused a member of staff. This is something that we will not stand for. The family are welcome back in the pub.”