Pub chain insists no change to poppy policy after 'spoof site' spread false claims
PUB chain Wetherspoon has said there will be no ban on poppies on its premises and hit out at "spoof sites" for spreading claims to the contrary.
A tweet from a parody account, @Wetherspoon_UK, had stated that: "Due to the ever expanding multiculturalism of our clientele and employees this year our staff will not be wearing the poppy while working."
Wetherspoon, which has four bars in Northern Ireland and more than 900 across the UK, responded by saying the account had "crossed the line" with a "distasteful and insensitive tweet".
The company's staff have traditionally been allowed to wear poppies in the run-up to the anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11 and the Royal British Legion also sells the emblem in pubs.
The official account, @jdwtweet, replied: "J D Wetherspoon is in no way connected with this Twitter account and neither shares nor condones its posts.
"In our opinion, although the unofficial spoof account is stated to be a parody account, tweets like this are simply not funny. #digitaltrolls"
DUP North Belfast MLA William Humphrey said he had raised the matter with Wetherspoons.
He tweeted: "Just spoken to the Area Manager of JD Wetherspoons in NI. He confirmed - NO ban on staff wearing Poppies. Co. will also continue to sell!"
A spokesman for Wetherspoon confirmed that the poppy policy applied at all of its chains across the UK.
In January 2016, Wetherspoon faced criticism after a flag display to promote the Six Nations rugby tournament at its bar in Lisburn omitted the tricolour.
The company said it had removed the tricolour from the display after both the pub and staff were threatened.