TESCO is urgently investigating after a delivery driver abused a prominent gay columnist as a “batty boy”.
The vile, homophobic slur was directed at Mark David Woollard during a road rage incident involving the Tesco driver.
Mr Woollard, from Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, wrote on Twitter: “I have just been verbally and homophobically abused by a @Tesco home delivery driver.
“He called me a BATTY BOY!
“Please retweet and share everybody. Registration of the van: BK65 CUY.”
Mr Woollard, who writes for Gay UK magazine, said the incident happened on the A316 in Richmond last night (wed) as he drove home from work in central London.
He said today: “This Tesco van started to flash me and he was driving very, very close to me. He was practically in my boot.
“After a while, I wound down my window and stuck my fingers up and he seemed to back off.”
The two drivers stopped at a red light and the Tesco driver wound down his window and started shouting at Mr Woollard.
He said: “I wound down my window. He was saying, quite aggressively, “Why are you swearing at me?”
“I said, ‘Why are you flashing me, and why are you driving in my boot?’ And he said, ‘Because I can’.
“Then as the lights turned green, he went, ‘You’re a batty boy’ and drove off really fast.
“I can cope with road rage, that’s fine. But don’t bring sexuality, colour or whatever into it. He was a nasty, nasty man. I definitely think he should be sacked.”
Tesco contacted Mark after replying to his tweet, and said in a private message exchange: “Hi Mark, I’m really sorry that you had to experience this and I am seriously appalled by this behaviour. I shall make sure the store know about this incident, also would you like an apology from the store manager or just to make sure the driver is spoken to about this?
Mr Woollard replied: “Just an apology? I really don’t think that is strong enough under the situation. This is a hate crime and should be dealt with a lot more severely than a good talking to surely?”
On social media, Andrea commented: “That is totally uncalled for. I am really sorry to hear that.”
Amber Stephenson added: “Disgusting behaviour, completely unacceptable. Let’s hope he gets dealt with, particularly as Tesco is such a big supporter of Pride and an advocate of autonomy and freedom of expression.”
A spokesman for Tesco said: “Abusive language and behaviour has absolutely no place within our business. We are urgently investigating and we will take the appropriate action.”