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Appalling Incident Of Discrimination Against Wheelchair User


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I had to post this- I kn ow you will all agree with me that we should do something about this:

I must live by my code

When bouncers still feel they can abuse people in wheelchairs, we must all stand up and be counted

Russell Brand

Tuesday August 15, 2006

The Guardian

You probably know Ade Adepitan as that black bloke with dreads playing wheelchair basketball on BBC1 in between shows. He's also a television presenter, actor, Paralympic medallist and MBE. I've been mates with him for four years. We have the same management and are both fans of West Ham United - we go to matches together. He's a right laugh, a joy to be around, and has achieved extraordinary things, made all the more exceptional by what he has overcome. Since I've known him, he has never uttered a word of complaint or shown a trace of bitterness about his disability, but, it seems to me, has used it as a spur to accomplish things that would have otherwise been beyond him.

When Ade telephoned me and said he needed some advice, I immediately suspected something awful must have happened to make him solicit assistance from me. He explained that he and a friend, also black and in a wheelchair, had been refused admittance to Movida nightclub in London's West End on the grounds that they were not members - which Ade thought was odd as he had visited the venue without difficulty previously, and the club's policy regarding membership is, at best, inconsistent. Ade remonstrated with the doorman for a few fruitless minutes and then "pushed" off with his mate. As they departed, he said, the doorman shouted: "Yeah, that's right, **** off you ******* cripple."

Ade is a proud man and, of course, returned to confront his tormentor. In the exchange that Ade described - almost too ghastly to repeat - the dialogue employed by the bouncer included: "What are you gonna do, you ******* cripple?"; "You don't have any ******* legs"; and "I bet you wish you had legs like me, then you could do something about it". Movida deny that it took place and I have only Ade's word that this vile language was used, but for me that is more than sufficient. He said he'd not been spoken to in that fashion since he was at school in the 80s. I jokingly remarked that prejudice was more fashionable then and that his adversary ought to ensure that the targets of his contempt are in vogue - asylum seekers are currently quite shoddily protected. The thought of such a seething, hateful boor looming over my friend enrages me every time I beckon the memory. We had a laugh about it, though. What else can you do?

I host a radio show on the BBC's 6 Music and realised that this would be a good forum for Ade to chat about what had happened. When he asked me if he should "just leave it", I said he had an obligation to act - that the doorman had probably abused people in the past and, if unchecked, would continue to, and that Ade was in a position to turn this horrible experience into a positive one by ensuring the doorman was sacked and his licence revoked.

We chatted about the incident on my Sunday-morning show, and the listeners were incensed. The nightclub denies Ade's version of the encounter, saying that he had been abusive and aggressive to the club's staff. To me this seems out of character and highly unlikely.

The 6 Music show I do is available as a podcast (yesterday it was No 3 in the iTunes chart, behind Ricky Gervais and Big Brother). The BBC said the exchange between me and Ade contravened legal guidelines and refused to include it in the podcast. I said that without it the show would not be representative of what took place, and therefore I would prefer if the podcast were withdrawn. At the moment it is unavailable.

I understand the BBC's position; it must observe its internal code - but so must I, and so ought we all. It's my belief that we share a responsibility to banish such repulsive behaviour from our society.

? Russell Brand is a comedian and broadcaster


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Persephone, that's an infuriating story. I'm always terrified when I'm in my chair that someone will say something like that to me. As a result I'm incredibly shy whenever I'm in my chair, and I usually don't talk to anyone. (It's like a Jekyll and "Hide"...har har har...) sorry for that horrible pun.

Anyways, I hope that something can be done about what that bouncer said! I'm also glad it wasn't you being discriminated against again, which is what I feared when I read the title of your post :unsure:



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