I'm sorry: Councillor apologises for Facebook post saying Costa staff "needed a good beating" (From Thisisdorset)
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I'm sorry: Councillor apologises for Facebook post saying Costa staff "needed a good beating"
COUNCILLOR Peter Chapman has apologised ‘sincerely and unreservedly’ for remarks made about female coffee shop staff on a social networking site.
The Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillor sparked outrage amongst women’s groups, business owners and fellow councillors when he posted on his private Facebook profile that the ‘bone idle bitches’ at Costa Dorchester ‘needed a good beating’.
Coun Chapman, who is the borough council’s spokesperson for finance and assets, sent a letter to the Echo via email in which he apologises to the staff for ‘the comment, the intemperate language used and any offence or distress caused’.
But he added: “My comment was never intended for an audience beyond those who know me well enough to take the comment...with the humour that was intended.”
Coun Chapman concludes that copies of the webpage were passed to the Echo ‘for some political purpose’.
Toni McKee, of women’s group Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND), said she was glad Coun Chapman had ‘seen the error of his ways’.
She added: “It is good to hear that he’s apologised but I don’t know if it is enough to make up for what he said.
“People need to realise that throwaway comments on sites like Facebook are not private, and in any case, as a councillor I should think his constituents would be interested to know what he thinks.
“It is not acceptable to joke about violence against women. It shows that we still have this underlying culture in our society.”
Coun Chapman previously said the comments were made ‘in jest’ and his Facebook profile was taken down after he was contacted by the Echo.
President of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce Alison Moore said she was ‘very pleased’ to hear about the apology.
She added: “Hopefully this will make us all a bit more mindful of the things we say, or write, on the spur of them moment.
“Perhaps the councillor will learn from this and be able to be even more in touch with the people who voted for him, so that something good can come out of this awful business.”
Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillor Kate Wheller said: “I was very surprised to hear about the comments because I know Peter Chapman takes the issue of violence against women as seriously as I do and it’s clearly not a subject for light-hearted jokes.
“I hope that, if nothing else, this will highlight how important it is to treat people with the sort of respect you would want to be given yourself.”
A spokesperson for Costa Coffee said: “Our baristas work really hard to ensure our customers have an enjoyable experience and we’re sorry to learn that Councillor Peter Chapman did not enjoy his visit to our Costa store in Dorchester.
“However we do not condone any of Coun Chapman’s comments.”
The letter sent to the Echo by Coun Chapman reads as follows:
“I write with regard to your article of March 6 concerning my comment on Facebook.
“Firstly I offer my sincere and unreserved apologies to the staff at Costa Dorchester for the comment, the intemperate language used and any offence or distress caused.
“My comments were not in any way indicative of the normal standard of service that I have received at that establishment, which is why I have been a customer for several years.
“The staff there have always been extremely pleasant.
“Secondly, I wish to re-iterate that my Facebook account was always set to private and friends only access.
“My comment was never intended for an audience beyond those who know me well enough to take the comment in the context that was intended and with the humour that was intended.
“I can only conclude that the comment I made reached the Echo for some political purpose.
“Yours sincerely, Peter Chapman.”
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