The Anglo File

Christian Group Boycotts UK Supermarket Because Of Gay Executive’s Comment

Tesco, one of the largest supermarket/retail chains in the United Kingdom, is in hot water with religious groups because one of the company’s top honchos took a personal stand against anti-gay Christians. Back in 2008 Nick Lansley, the company’s openly gay head of Research and Development, wrote on his Flickr profile page, “I’m…campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.”

Not that we’re taking sides, but good for you, Nick.

Now, some three years after the comment was made, the Christian Institute—a nondenominational charity dedicated to “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” is backing a boycott of Tesco. (Delayed reaction much?)

The boycott is also prompted by Tesco making a £30,000 (roughly $47, 000) donation to London Pride. (Which, by the way, is just a paltry 0.05% of the company’s total annual donations.

“I won’t be shopping at Tesco this Christmas, and I am repeatedly hearing from other Christians who have already come to the same conclusion,” Christian Institute Colin Hart said, “Mr Lansley is entitled to his opinions, and Christians are entitled to choose not to shop at Tesco.”

We’re sure you’re on Santa’s naughty list, Mr. Hart.

A Tesco spokesman told the Telegraph, “Mr Lansley’s comments, made in a personal capacity in 2008, in no way reflect the views of Tesco… We are very sorry that anyone might have thought that there was any blurring of the boundary between his personal comments and his work for Tesco. We have therefore asked him to remove the comments, and he has done so.”

So Lansley (at left), made a private comment on his photo page—one that’s in no way connected to his job—and his employer should be published? If Lansley was a Fundamentalist Christian who posted a comment bashing marriage equality, you can bet Hart and his cronies would be defending his remarks from all comers.

We’re disappointed Tesco made Lansley, who’s been with the company for 23 year, take down his comment and is distancing itself from his sentiment. But good on them for giving a big check to London Pride.

To our UK readers, pop in and buy a packet of biscuits. Tell ’em Queerty sent you.

Images via Mark Hillary, Nick Lansley

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  • randy

    The Christian haters in England are much fewer than in the US. What exactly do they want to accomplish with this boycott — his resignation? They don’t say.

    Unfocused boycotts supported by very few people equals failed boycott. This will probably be the last you hear of it, and it will die a quiet death.

  • Anthony

    How are you not taking sides?

  • Andrew Fergusson

    Or for you Californians, just pop into your nearest Fresh and Easy and buy a box of cookies yourselves. Saves us UK queers from having to set foot in anything chavvier than our nearest Waitrose. Ta.

  • Mike UK

    I’m sure tesco must be quaking in their boots!

  • Kurt

    Lansley did the appropriate thing by modifying his statement to say “that’s not all Christians, just bad ones.” We should all be careful as to what we write. Blanket attacks on “Christians” are not warranted.

  • Mk_Ultra_Again

    How is this controversial? He didn’t say all Christians just “the bad ones”. If you don’t want your fellow citizens to have equal rights and you want them treated poorly in society, then you are evil, no matter what your religion is. “Treat me better; Treat them worse” – How is that not evil? Take that card because it’s yours. It’s not like he said, hmmm let’s say for example, that all Christians are a “cesspool that makes him want to vomit”.

  • Jason

    Oh please, if these mealy mouthed fundies didn’t shop at Tescos, where’d they go? Tescos is often the only game in town.

  • Mike UK

    tesco wont give a toss, for every £10 spent in the UK a £1 of that is spent in tesco!

  • Ogre Magi

    @Kurt: @Kurt: @Kurt: Yes they are!

  • Ken

    What were they afraid of? Boycotts last 2 seconds. They grumble and complain then they find they need something and that store has it. Christians may bitch but they really don’t like being inconvenienced.
    If the comment was made in a personal capacity why did Tesco tell him to take his personal comment down?

  • Mike

    I thought Mary Whitehouse was dead. These are the same people who call the BBC home of “EastBenders” anyway.

  • Christian store

    This is what I was looking for from last week. Great work done. :)
    I like the way you write. Awesome, keep it up.

  • Frederick Oakeley

    It would be cleverer of the Christian Institute if it got it’s facts right. Tesco is not dropping Cancer UK and the support for Gay Pride is unconnected. I suspect it was born in the imagination of the Daily Mail.

  • Eric in Chicago

    There is nothing wrong with his statement. He clarified it wasn’t about all Christians and since the ‘evil ones’ are contantly making life for gays difficult I see nothing wrong with pointing it out. I wish he didn’t need his job so he could have told them to go F themselves.

  • Ian

    Gosh, my heart breaks for those poor oppressed christians. They have such a long and terrible history of being oppressed. I for one want to dedicate the rest of my life to ending their oppression.

  • Christopher Banks

    Given that the Christian Institute and its supporters are so few in number, announcing a boycott like this is a bit like telling Tesco that the bag lady who comes to piss in the deep freeze will be going to Sainsbury’s instead.

  • j

    Just wanna say that you used my local Tesco as the pic on this article; I was in there today (I fully understand that nobody cares)

  • Ben

    According to some news outlets and blogs, Lansley made the comment in 2008 after getting some hateful messages on his civil partnership ceremony video he uploaded to YouTube. I’ve seen some pretty awful stuff written as comments to gay wedding videos so I’m not surprised he used the word ‘evil’, strong though that was.
    Tesco has a Fresh & Easy store not far from me here in LA – think I’ll divert my loyalties to them!

Comments are closed.