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Gay couple thrown off London bus after alleged racist and homophobic abuse from driver

By Will Stroude

A theatre director claimed that he and his partner were kicked off a London bus after the driver made a series of racist and homophobic comments at the pair, according to the Evening Standard.

The couple were heading home after an evening in central London on Friday (September 2), when the incident is said to have occurred.

51-year-old Omar Okai, who has accused the London bus driver of making homophobic and racist comments, said the couple were left “shocked and disgusted” after an exchange between them and the driver as they boarded the rear of the bus.

“We put our hands out to get the bus but he looked at us and pointed at something and just drove on,” Mr Okai told the Standard.

“We caught up with the bus at another stop. The front doors were closed but people were on the bus. The back door was open so we got on and go straight to the front and put our Oyster cards on the machine.

“He then said, the front doors were closed for a reason. We apologised and said ‘but we have paid, is it ok?’

“He just kept repeating, ‘how long have you been using buses in this country?’ I made it very clear I am British but he kept repeating it. It was really aggressive, it was vile.

“He then said, ‘why did you use the backdoor?’. We again apologised and he said, ‘I bet you like it in the backdoor anyway.’

“I kind of stopped and said, ‘what do you mean’. He said, ‘you heard’.

“He then pressed the button on the top of his bus panel and made this announcement. He said ‘this bus is not going any further and people need to get off’.

“It was in such a nasty way. We got off the bus but realised other passengers stayed on. He then opened the front doors and allowed another lady to enter and then he drove off.”

Okai, of Bethnal Green, said: “You don’t have to call me a poof and a queer to be homophobic. This on a bus in your own country in 2016, that’s disgusting.”

Mr Okai and his partner Juan Salas Carranza, 36, have complained to Transport for London and the police over the alleged incident. In a letter to TfL, he said: “I would like an explanation, not just an apology, as I will be taking it further.

“This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in any shape or form in Great Britain and as a British citizen born here, I am not accepting it. My partner and I were humiliated and intimidated, being made to leave the bus.

“In a multi-racial, poly-sexual society, this can’t be allowed to pass. I use the transport system day in, day out and have never been so insulted.”

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: “We are concerned to hear of this incident and are investigating it with Tower Transit, the operator of the 25 bus route.

“We expect the highest standard of public service from bus drivers.”

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