Steerpike Steerpike

The Manchester Evening News’s shameful treatment of a hotel employee 

(Photo: Malmaison Manchester)

What is the purpose of a local newspaper? Time was, it was to stand up for local people against the tyranny of corrupt councils, daft bureaucracies and badly-behaved businesses.  

It appears though that the Manchester Evening News has expanded its remit lately: to include tattling on service workers for not toeing the line on identity politics. 

In a piece yesterday – originally headlined ‘Alleged “transphobic” conversation heard at hotel hosting Pride accreditation’ – the MEN reported that a burlesque performer was ‘shocked’ to hear a ‘transphobic’ conversation when having a coffee at the Malmaison Hotel in central Manchester last Friday. Dev Mistry, a 30-year-old who was staying in the hotel for Pride weekend, told the paper that: 

‘I picked something up and I took my headphones out to confirm that I could understand what I heard over the music…  

‘It was [a staff member] talking to others about trans people. It was not necessarily malicious but it was that “men are men” and “women are women” and there’s no in between.’

Heaven forfend! While most people would be supremely unbothered by the fact that someone working at a hotel having a private conversation believed in biological reality, that was clearly not the case for Mistry, who complained to the reception about the conversation. The Malmaison employee reportedly apologised for causing any offence, but that did not stop Mistry then escalating the complaint to the hotel’s head office, who have now launched a HR investigation and ‘agreed they needed more formal training around LGBTQ+ issues.’ 

Mr S can’t say he’s surprised to see a hotel employee being treated so appallingly by someone who clearly can’t tolerate another person disagreeing with them. But why is the Manchester Evening News joining what looks very much like a crusade to get a service worker fired for voicing a perfectly acceptable opinion?  

The city centre reporter who brought us this scoop appeared in no doubt about the importance of the story, tweeting yesterday that ‘It’s so depressing to have to write this, but it’s important to do so’ (move over Woodward and Bernstein, we’ve got a live one here).

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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