Thousands have rallied behind a Norwich bus driver who was suspended after he declined to drive a bus where the service number bore the colours of the LGBT flag.
The man, who has not been named, told passengers he could not drive a Konect bus which “promotes homosexuality”, and that they would have to wait until he could swap buses.
One passenger, Rebecca Sears, objected to this, and complained about the incident online, saying “Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia”.
She added: “I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views. However, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need rethink your choices.”
Konect, which is owned by Go East Anglia, suspended the driver and launched an investigation into his actions, saying it found his “attitude, behaviour and level of customer service completely unacceptable”.
It said: “Go East Anglia prides itself on values that support diversity and inclusion and has been a champion of Norwich Pride since 2017. We particularly want all customers of whatever background or sexual orientation to feel comfortable on our services.
“As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view.”
Despite the lack of support from his employers, more than 14,000 have signed a CitizenGo petition calling on Konect’s Managing Director Jeremy Cooper to reinstate the driver.
The petition states: “The driver was not expressing any hatred or offensive remarks towards the LGBT community or any one individual but simply exercising his own conscience rights when it comes to being forced to promote a political ideology with which he disagrees.”
Caroline Farrow, CitizenGo’s UK Campaign Director, said: “If anyone is intolerant it is the young woman who seeks to see a middle-aged man deprived of his income and publicly humiliated simply for expressing views with which she disagrees.”