A Cardiff hotel has cancelled a debate organised by the campaign group A Woman’s Place, a group that campaigns against plans to change the law on gender recognition.
The Mercure Cardiff Holland House explained via Twitter that the event was cancelled as it does not tolerate any “racist, sexist or bigoted behaviour”.
The event had been organised to discuss proposed changes to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to make the process of legally changing gender more simple.
A Woman’s Place tweeted it planned to have a “respectful and evidence based discussion about the impact of proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act”.
The group also said: “The accusation of transphobia should not be used to shut down women’s voices.”
A speaker booked to attend the event by A Woman’s Voice, accused the hotel of defamation.
We are extremely disappointed that @MercureCardifHH has taken this totally unnecessary action. We absolutely refute the suggestion that WPUK is guilty of any bigotry or hate. This tweet needs to be deleted. The meeting will go ahead at a venue that respects the rights of women. https://t.co/vkbZyh4cG9
— Womans_Place_UK (@Womans_Place_UK) April 12, 2018
The hotel later deleted the tweet.
In response to the hotel’s decision, speaker Helen Mary Jones described the announcement as “unfortunate” but said the event would continue in a different location.
She said: “I think that the hotel’s decision is very unfortunate as A Woman’s Place is not an organisation that supports bigots or discrimination.
“We want to have an informed debate about proposed changes to the law and to seek opinions about the way forward.I have fought against prejudice and discrimination all my life. The idea that I or any other speakers would have anything to do with a hate group is ridiculous.”
A spokesperson for the hotel said: “The decision to cancel an event on Thursday 12th at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House was taken in the best interests of hotel guests and staff after concerns were raised about their safety, which is our priority, due to potential disruption and protests.
“The decision in no way implied any judgement on the views of those organising the event, or those protesting against it. While we are a leader in encouraging diversity and inclusion in all its forms, it is not our policy to pass comment on the view of others.
“Regrettably an unauthorised tweet was posted on behalf of the hotel which did not accurately reflect the position of the hotel the Mercure brand or AccorHotels, and which has since been removed. We have taken action to ensure this can’t be repeated and are reviewing our processes. We apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by this miscommunication.”