Bank forced to apologize after employee says to customer: 'vegans should be punched'
A prominent bank has been forced to apologise after an employee threatened one of their vegan customers, reportedly telling them: "vegans should be punched."
British bank Natwest offered a woman in Bristol around £200 in compensation, after she had an extremely unpleasant experience on January 23, calling the bank for a £400 loan so that she could complete a nutritional diploma. But a member of staff who manned the phone that day said: "All vegans should be punched in the face."
Talking to the BBC, the woman - who wishes to remain anonymous - said the bank employee's reasoning stemmed from the fact that vegans were drawing pictures of animals alongside messages of "animals are friends not food" on pavements near to where he lived.
The employee reportedly believed that "vegans were forcing their beliefs on to him", according to the victim. "He wasn't happy to be speaking to me at all, his tone was really unpleasant.
The woman explained that adopting a plant-based diet was a cause close to her heart, deciding to adopt the lifestyle after her daughter went to see a cancer specialist. Being vegan is a lifestyle choice, I shouldn't be penalised for it, especially by a big organisation. It's extremely unfair," she added.
For their part in the incident, Natwest have apologised for the behaviour of their employee, describing his conduct as "wholly inappropriate". They also announced their intention to learn from the incident, so that situations like this did not become a regular occurrence.
"We are extremely sorry for the way our customer was treated by a member of our staff and apologise for any distress and upset that this behaviour caused. These comments were wholly inappropriate and we have commenced disciplinary proceedings. We have also provided feedback to the relevant sections of the bank to ensure that lessons are learnt so that a situation like this never happens again."
This comes as more people are deciding to become vegan, but as publicity stunts from animal rights activists continue to draw stinging criticism from other corners of society.
The animal rights group PETA recently drew some of that ire in an Australia-based demonstration, where they appeared to barbecue a dog in front of a busy Sydney mall (the dog turned out to be a fake model). In a statement, PETA attempted to call out the perceived double-standard between meat eaters and those who viewed eating dog meat as immoral.
"This is called speciesism – a form of discrimination based on nothing more than species – and like all forms of discrimination, it cannot be justified. As humans, we instinctively feel compassion and empathy for animals, but we’re taught that it’s OK to enslave and eat some of them, without a second thought as to who they are as individuals."
"Anyone who’s repulsed by the prospect of chowing down on dog meat should question the incongruity of their compassion towards other animals," the animal rights organisation added.