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Sexism Virgin Trains apologies for sexist tweet

Company asks if passenger would prefer to be called ‘pet’ or ‘love’ after complaint

VIRGIN TRAINS apologised “unreservedly” today after posting sexist comments on its official Twitter account.

Passenger Emily Cole had complained on the social networking site about being called “honey” by a member of Virgin Trains East Coast staff in a conversation about misleading instructions to passengers.

The flagship privateer’s official Twitter account then replied: “Sorry for the mess up Emily, would you prefer ‘pet’ or ‘love’ next time?”

Ms Cole told the BBC that staff at Edinburgh Waverley station had told passengers they could pay the weekend upgrade on her train home to London. Once on board the train, she was told “they’d all made a mistake” and would have to move back to standard-class seats. Ms Cole said she told the guard she would complain and he replied: “You go ahead, honey.”

She said: “In the context and, given his aggressive tone, I can only assume he didn’t like being challenged by a woman. I wouldn’t have complained if he’d used the term in a familial or affectionate way.”

It was then that she went online to vent her frustrations. She said the “patronising and belittling” response from Virgin’s official Twitter account was “just the behaviour I was complaining about” in her initial tweet.

“It wasn’t about the use of the term in isolation that’s the problem, but when these words are appropriated in such a passive-aggressive way in response to a service complaint,” she said.

“They become part of a wider systemic issue of women being patronised and belittled.”

A Virgin Trains East Coast spokesman said: “We apologise unreservedly for this tweet and for the offence caused. To avoid causing more offence we have deleted the original post.”


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