The man who was the subject of homophobic abuse in a Spar shop on Dublin’s Baggot Street this weekend says his Facebook update was not meant for public consumption.
Dublin man Colm posted on his Facebook page yesterday, Sunday November 23, about an incident in which he was called a “faggot” by a customer in Spar, only for an employee to step in and stand up for him. The incident went viral after a screengrab of Colm’s update was posted, causing #SparGuy to trend on Twitter.
“I walked over to Spar to get some wine and cigarettes,” Colm told The Outmost. “I was just wearing shorts and a jumper. I mean, I just live across the road so I just threw clothes on, not thinking about how I was dressed. I realise I was wearing a big jumper and some shorts, I did look a bit weird.
“I was in the queue and there was a guy and a girl in front of me buying a bottle of wine. The guy turned to the girl and said, ‘Look at that faggot in his shorts.’ And laughed in my face. I just looked away because I didn’t want to make a scene, you know?
“When they got to the top of the queue, the guy who was working at the til said, ‘Sorry I heard what you said, and I’m not going to serve you,’ and took the bottle of wine and put it under the counter.”
When the customer questioned why he was being refused service, the employee allegedly said, “You called him a faggot and that is not acceptable.’”
Colm, who does not want his surname revealed for safety reasons, continued: “The guy was asked to leave. The whole thing happened in about 8 to 10 seconds, like it was so small. But I was so impressed by the Spar guy and I thanked him and bought my stuff.”
Colm told The Outmost that the incident of casual homophobia was never meant to gain as much attention as it did, and that at the time he did not think too much of it. “I didn’t mean to report this sensational story of ‘my horrific homophobic attack’. It was just a nice thing that happened that I wanted to share with my friends,” he said.
While the Spar employee is being hailed a ‘local hero’ after a screengrab from Colm’s facebook page went viral, Colm has been the subject of criticism for his use of the term “scadly hun” in describing the woman involved in the incident.
“A lot of people are saying that my position is delegitimised because I made a misogynist comment,” Colm says. “I chose my words badly. I wrote that status when I was walking out of Spar, and hadn’t given too much thought to it. My Facebook feed isn’t even public. Only friends can see what I post and I did not write a piece for the public eye. Someone screen grabbed it and shared it.”
Since the story went viral, Colm says he’s received more homophobia online than he did in the Spar shop.
“I have suspended getting messages from people I am not Facebook friends with, because I have been getting messages from strangers saying that I was ‘oversensitive’, I ‘brought it on myself’, that I was ‘making the story up’. Some were threatening violence and suggesting that I kill myself.”
Meanwhile, Spar Ireland tweeted support for their employee:
We believe in respect for all people and therefore we’re very proud of #SparGuy
— SPAR Ireland (@SPARIreland) November 24, 2014
© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.