Bouncers in Shoreditch have been caught on camera directing homophobic abuse at a London DJ after forcibly ejecting him from a club.
Doormen at the electronic music venue Basing House made homophobic jokes on Saturday about Rutare Savage, from Tooting Broadway, when he asked why he’d been thrown out.
In video given to the Hackney Post by Mr Savage, one bouncer can be seen telling him: “I love you. Have you got a boyfriend? Can I be your boyfriend? Can you be my girlfriend tonight?”
Mr Savage, who was at the club to meet promoters, told the Hackney Post: “It was just really weird, because neither me nor my friend are gay, but who cares? That doesn’t even matter, that’s some really backwards, medieval joke that they were making.”
Mr Savage described how one of the bouncers physically dragged him out of the club, on Kingsland Road, while he was trying to persuade him to let his friend in.
He told the Hackney Post that he had agreed with staff working on the till that his friend, who did not have a ticket, would be added to the guest list if he paid full price.
“I went outside to get my friend and that’s when the bouncer intervened. I went back to the till people and they seemed absolutely terrified of these guys. So they said if the bouncer is saying no, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
He explained: “I had been drinking. I wasn’t drunk. I was really looking forward to [meeting the promoters].
“I’m just trying to get a few more DJing gigs and that, but I knew that in order to maintain a conversation with people from whom I kind of want something – if you know what I mean – I had to have a level head on me. I couldn’t be wasted.”
Savage insisted that he remained calm throughout the exchange: “I’m not really paranoid when it comes to race or anything like that. I’m a black dude but I’m pretty much well-practised in the art of not pissing off huge white dudes, just in case.
“The bouncer started counting down from five. He got to zero and pulled me right out of the doorway. I held onto a temporary barrier, so he just pulled harder and prised my hand off.
“At this stage I thought, ‘I’m going to film, because this is the whole reason we have phones with cameras on so that people can’t just get away with this anymore.”
Video footage shows the bouncer knocking Savage’s phone out of his hand as soon as he started to film.
“He put his walkie talkie into his other hand and used his left hand to swat at my phone. So it’s all smashed now.”
Savage said that it was at this point that the homophobic comments began.
Jen Calleja from Good Night Out (GNO) London, a campaign which raises awareness about harassment in the night-time economy, told the Hackney Post: “Anyone can experience harassment, but women and those identifying as LGBTQI+ – including those who may be perceived to be belonging to these groups but aren’t – are most likely to experience harassment.
“Though this was not a GNO trained venue, to hear that anyone has been harassed while on a night out is very upsetting, but all the more so when it has apparently come from staff who are supposed to be there to protect and be of service to customers.”
Basing House did not respond to requests for comment.