New Wahoo CCTV sheds light on “homophobia” row

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An Oxford club has denied widely published claims that bouncers ejected two male students for kissing, claiming that new CCTV footage shows they were removed because one of them took a drink from behind the bar.

The club did not release this information to The Oxford Student until late on Saturday due to confusion with a separate incident involving another customer ten minutes earlier, causing a misunderstanding.

By this time several student media outlets had published details of the homophobia allegations.

Pete Mortimore, general manager of Wahoo, said that more detailed analysis of CCTV footage shows that “the males were asked to leave because of over intoxication and one of them attempting to self serve.”

According to the club, the footage shows “two males at the bar area wearing chequered shirts.”

“A member of the Door Team is called over to intervene as one of the males had been refused service by the Bar Supervisor and had proceeded to take a can of energy drink by leaning over the bar. The Door Supervisor approaches the males and guides them out of the venue.”

The Oxford Student is unable to view these images due to provisions of the Data Protection Act.

When asked to respond to the details of the CCTV footage, one of the students in question said: “If I’m honest I don’t remember the incident occurring.” He also confirmed he was wearing a chequered shirt at the time of the incident.

There is no suggestion that the students deliberately lied about the club’s motives for the ejection. The club did not give the students a reason for their ejection at the time, a decision Mortimore apologised for.

“The information regarding the male’s actions at the bar should have been relayed to the Door Supervisors at the front entrance,” he said.

Prior to this development last night, the incident was originally described as a homophobic move on the part of the club’s staff. Students at Wadham, where both of the ejected students attend, began suggesting a boycott of Wahoo, while some also proposed a same-sex “kiss in” at the club. Others recommended legal action.

A senior member of the college SU committee offered in a Facebook group to bring a motion to help pay potential legal costs, while a writer for another Oxford newspaper claimed the publication was looking to write a “suitably outraged” article on the topic.

One of the ejected students said prior to the club’s clarification that the incident “indicated the existence of an undercurrent of homophobia amongst a minority of security staff employed in Oxford clubs, which needs to be addressed.”

“I don’t identify as gay, but my friend does, and regardless of my own sexual orientation, we were discriminated against for same-sex kissing, when such activity by a heterosexual couple would have been ignored”.

Wahoo, on Hythe Bridge Street, is one of Oxford’s most popular Friday club nights.