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Turner Prize drops Stagecoach sponsor following co-founder's anti-LGBT history

Sir Brian Souter donated millions to keep Section 28 in Scottish law

2019-05-03

Words: Steve Brown

The Turner Prize has dropped Stagecoach as a sponsor just hours after the bus company co-founder was revealed to have an anti-LGBTQ history.

Sir Brian Souter - who was knighted back in 2011 – previously said that society would ‘implode’ if traditional marriage fails and even donated millions to keep Section 28 in Scottish law.

At the time, the Stagecoach boss said: “We are arguing here about what kind of society we want to live in.

“Are we going to be in a Babylonian-Greek-type of society, where sex is primarily a recreational activity, or are we going to stick with the Judeo-Christian tradition, where procreation is something that we want to put within a marriage context?

“Quite honestly the issue about gay relationships is a small side-product from that discussion.”

After the prestigious art awards announced that Stagecoach were to be one of the main sponsors, the Guardian reported that they faced backlash following Souter’s long-standing beliefs and homophobic comments.

But now, the Turner Prize has announced – just hours after the backlash – that they have dropped Stagecoach from being a sponsor.

In a statement, they said: “Turner Contemporary and Tate’s highest priority is to show and celebrate artists and their work.

“The Turner prize celebrates the creative freedoms of the visual arts community and our wider society.

“By mutual agreement, we will not proceed with Stagecoach South East’s sponsorship of this year’s prize.”