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Bankrupt This Ugly Business

There is nothing beautiful about the Sapphire Salon and should be driven to bankruptcy.

The people who own it should be scratching their heads, driving themselves mad with worry about how they’ll pay the rent as the dust piles up on their salon chairs.

Why? Well, the salon refused a booking by a gay couple. They quite literally turned them away, even though they had a pre-paid session booked. This is disgusting behaviour and I think they should be put out of business. Decent people should avoid Sapphire Salon at 182 High Rd, Highams Park, Woodford Green IG8 9E like the plague. Current customers should not go back. Those with appointments should cancel them. Companies offering beauty treatments at Sapphire as incentive scheme rewards should find a more worthy business. Businesses reselling their services, like Groupon, should find other partners instead.

The Sapphire Salon should be a no-go area for any decent person.

Now, you may think it’s nasty and harsh of me to hope for such an outcome. But is it any worse than those who would like to see them charged and prosecuted? Were this possible, it would likely lead to the same outcome, but with the added involvement of the police, lawyers and the courts. The can’t be, of course. But this is a common misunderstanding. They can’t be prosecuted and the gay couple made a mistake in thinking it was a case for the police, as many of the public do. Though it is technically “against the law” – under the Equality Act - to refuse the provision of goods and services on the basis of race, religion  sexual orientation, etc, it is in fact not a “matter for the police”. Remedy is provided through civil action, that is to say, you can sue.

But I’m not convinced that anti-discrimination legislation provides the proper remedy. Far better that consumer choice, rather than litigation, be the cause of their failure.

I feel the right of free association is at stake. I believe the business owners have a right not to serve customers based on whatever bigotry they possess. I don’t think the law has a justifiable moral right to force individuals to mix with people they don’t want to in their private homes or in their private enterprises. If the business is not the recipient of state subsidies, city contracts or any other financial benefit paid for by the public purse, then they should be left alone. It is perfectly reasonable to make serving all people without prejudice a condition of receiving public money, or other advantages like charitable status, of course. But how private people dispose of tehir private resources ought to be up to them.

But, the principle of free association is a harsh one. If the proprietors of this salon wish to exercise their moral right to free association (even if it is currently, regrettably  unlawful) then they must accept that others have a similar right to urge decent folk not to associate with them or support their business.

I am confidant that the average decent person would not support the businesses of bigots. Furthermore, I believe our society is made up of a majority of decent people.  After all, enough of us – even with misguided passion - supported the introduction of the Equality Act.

If you doubt the power of boycotting bigots, consider the success the gay campaign against certain Jamaican dancehall artists was. Where the law refused to help, the power of consumer boycotts and negative publicity put the worst offenders beyond the pale.

Let the ugly Sapphire Salon find out what it’s like to be shunned and humiliated.