Pete Chapman on Costa staff

A women’s group has called on a Tory to quit over comments on Facebook. Dorset councillor Pete Chapman said that staff in a coffee shop should be beaten for not providing him with satisfactory service:

“Terminally slow (and bad) service from the bone idle bitches at Costa Dorchester today, they all need a good beating.”

One of his council colleagues then commented:

 “Meow. Never knew you had it in you Pete.”

Clearly the territory of enlightened views, the area, where Chapman is council spokesman for resources, is home to Richard Drax MP — the author of a notorious (and now deleted) blog post entitled “Two + two = gay”, in which the discussion of homosexuality in schools was described as “imposing questionable sexual standards”.

Richard Drax: "Two + two = gay"

The chair of Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND), Toni McKee, told the Dorset Echo that the “absolutely terrible” comments mean that Chapman “should step down”.

His excuse?

“My Facebook status is private and that comment was not made in public.”

  1. “My Facebook status is private and that comment was not made in public.”

    Fair point. I’m not about policing what people can and can’t say in private.

    And besides, could you twist this any more? Can’t help thinking that if he’d called them twats, you’d be claiming he hates everything with a vagina.

    When was the last time you jokingly said “I’ll kill him!” in a moment of anger? Would you be happy if that was reported as you inciting murder?

  2. What the Hell are you doing in Costa… free loading corp that doesn’t pay its taxes… remember your Tory mantra ‘ We are all in this together’? … obviously not, and by drinking in that piss hole your endorsing their behaviour!

  3. Kelly Zombiefied says:

    No ones FB is private…. anything that goes on the internet.. privacy protected or not… can end up in the public domain …erm Screen cap anyone?
    Putting something on the internet is as private as standing in the coffee shop and shouting “Hurry up you lazy bitches or I’ll beat you!”
    All sexism aside, they guy’s shown himself to be so unsavvy at something as basic as online networking that his ability to do his job should be called into question.
    Perhaps a person with more brain would have posted “Get your act together Costa!! Service is terrible today” rather than calling the staff bitches and suggesting violence was appropriate.

  4. John, people can say anything they like on their own facebook accounts, in private with their friends or wherever. But other people can decide they are really rather unpleasant, and their friends can decide that maybe this isn’t a friendship they want to pursue.

  5. Nothing on Facebook is private, secrets can be heard, but never told. Once it is out there, it will be judged, and this Tory tiff has been found wanting

  6. Horrible, horrible, degrading sexism.
    Just clear cut objectification and misogyny.
    I don’t care where he said it, I just care that he thinks its acceptable to think it. He clearly hates women.
    No women are safe under his councillorship. Plainly he doesn’t see them as equal citizens and therefore would not protect their rights.
    What a repugnant cretin. Vile.

  7. John, it’s not twisting something – saying you’ll kill someone in a temper is one thing, calling people bitches and implying they should be beaten is something far more considered.

  8. Craig – please delete/remove you comment if you can. Costa is part of the Whitbread group and they *do* pay their taxes. Costa are the Good Guys and falsely berating them for something they haven’t done only harms those demanding fair taxation.

  9. I think it’s a little degrading that people are assuming he was only calling the female staff “bitches”. It is a stereotype in itself. I’ve called many a friend a bitch before, the vast, VAST majority of them men. “Stop being a little bitch” as a way of telling someone to grow up and get one with it. However I agree that it’s most likely aimed at women, not to mention this 21st Century penchant for people saying people should be punched. I see it all too often on Twitter it seems :/ probably should step down.

  10. Firstly, making the argument that a Facebook account is private (and he was not acting in an official capacity) is incorrect. Facebook is not private; it is public as it is something published on the internet, which will be visible to his friends, friend of friends and (depending on his privacy settings) even the general public as some Facebook statuses can be found simply through a web search. This is a published statement online and as UK case law has shown, you can be held responsible for what you say online – publishing something on Facebook, Twitter etc. is no different to publishing something in a book or newspaper article in the eyes of the law – hence why Lord McAlpine is able to sue Twitter users who made those unfounded allegations.
    Secondly, even if he doesn’t identify himself as a Councillor on his Facebook page, he is still a public figure. That means his expectation of privacy is lower than the average person, because he is an elected public figure chosen to represent his council constituency. At best, this was a stupid mistake to have made by someone who clearly doesn’t understand how the internet works. At worst, it is evidence of a misogynist in a public position – and if I were a woman, this is information I would want to know come next council elections. Even if it was a joke it was a stupid one and in very poor taste, and a ridiculously stupid thing to do. If he had just said this to a friend then that is one thing. Publishing it online is very different. As we see in the article, one of his Facebook friends is also a councillor – that means that it is not a ‘private’ account as it is linked to his public life. This means that there is a risk that anything he says on Facebook could be linked to his public life. It’s one thing to complain about poor service, but another thing to do it in a way that expresses misogyny, hate-speech etc.
    Thirdly, it is irrelevant if it was a joke or not. The use of his language is part of a gendered discourse designed to disempower women – if the staff had been men, would he have used the same language? Well, we don’t know, but linguistic theory and gender theory suggests that probably he would have used different words for men. Calling women bitches and suggesting they should be beaten to make them work harder is not something that I would find funny, and not something that most reasonable people would find funny. The fact that this was not a reasonable joke to make does call into question his ability to perform his role as an elected public official. Women will make up 50% of his council constituency, and if that is his attitude towards them then is he representing them effectively? Even if it was just a joke it does represent a worrying attitude; our use of language is never accidental as language is how we build our social reality – his use of language here does suggest that in his social reality, women are second-class. We are all guilty of sexism to some extent because the gendered discourses we operate within tend to be constructed from a masculinist perspective, and sexism can come from men and women. However, sexism expressed by a public official is not acceptable, and I imagine that he will be asked to resign for this, because his council will not want to be associated with this.

  11. …i agree…FB isn’t ‘Private’. The DWP and the likes scan it regularly to gain evidence of people doing things they shouldn’t do. So why shouldn’t a dim-witted MP be subject to the same scrutiny? He is entitled to his opinion, just as we ‘the public’ (his bosses) can judge whether it’s appropriate, brings his position into disrepute, etc. Wonder if he’s claiming for that Costa on expenses…it’d provide an interesting bit of narrative for the paymaster to guffaw at (or should we expect better?). Whatever happened to MP’s and the ruling class that led by example? Awh, they are…okay i get it…this is how we’re all supposed to act in Tory-dom! Rant, rant, rant…

  12. Blokes a throwback to an age best left in the past. Mind you he is a tory and as such thinks he’s immune from the law unlike the rest of us.

    Sexism is sexism, whether said in ‘ private’ or not. FB is a social network and as such can be seen by anyone you have on your list. The only way you wouldn’t cause offence is if everyone on your list is a sexist troglodyte from the CON servative party.

    Ignore this idiot, he’s not worth the effort.

  13. One of many if not all, Tory plebs, did I mention pleb, well here again it is pleb, enjoy your next election “not” if I were you, I’d be looking for alternate employment, “that is if there is any to be found”

  14. Hi KATE…. Starbucks and Costa, and Google, and Amazon, and Cadburys etc… etc… have all in some way avoided paying their full tax liability through VAT and Direct tax avoidance schemes, I myself am a small business and chuffed up a sizable amount of Income Tax this January and it makes my blood boil that if I didn’t I’d have the full weight of HRMC bearing down on me in the form of fines and even prison if I didn’t cough up… so he’s a twat for drinking Costa as far as I’m concerned!

  15. What ever Costa coffe is, ( a free loading non tax paying scummy over priced gangster company) the staff are always very good and polite and damn decent chaps.

    I get fed up with the wait BUT BUT BUT It shows how moronic the political class is, if you want fresh coffee, ground and made well sorry it takes time, try doing it at home.

    what politicians really mean is “Im too important to wait for these “plebs” to get my coffee”

  16. I’M DISGUSTED! If you can; think of a funnier way to describe the bad service you had, you should be mass unfriended.

  17. The Staff in Costa in Hereford are brilliant. I have often commented on how hard these young staff work, often managing to make 2 or 3 different types of coffee at the same time. I am not surprised at the very offensive , horrible remarks made by the Tory, it was what I have come to expect. They have no respect for women, particularly women in what they see as menial jobs.
    Perhaps I am old fashioned but I hate the word bitch and would never, ever use it. As for the beating, does this idiot have any idea how much violence is perpetrated against women in this country >

  18. Good post, this guy is an old fashioned misogynist a brute misogynist, why the hell would you firstly say this stuff and secondly say it of all places the fecking internet. Have people like him learned nothing. Personally I’m glad he is so stupid he has only exposed his own personality and stupidity to the entire world…

  19. Combing through the minutia of politicians lives like this for the vaguest hint that they don’t live every second of their life like Mother Theresa is pretty lowly stuff.

    I don’t think the post is sexist, and he’s not seriously suggesting anyone should actually be beaten. Venting frustration is hardly illegal, particularly on a private facebook page (yes, a little naive perhaps, but get over it)

  20. Aren’t 2 young lads still serving 4-year terms of imprisonment for posting something on their ‘private’ Face**ck site?

    OK, it was about an ‘imaginary’ that never ever happened and they never even attended. But if this Tory is so keen on freedom of speech via social media, would be hoping he is putting all his energies into campaigning for these lads’ release and pardon. Seems that we’re not even all in it together when it comes to privacy either?

    http://m.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/16/facebook-riot-calls-men-jailed

  21. AntiSocialist says:

    @UKiploons.. he wouldn’t be allowed to join UKiP, Liebour would happily take him and as for Libdems they would make him leader of the party, funny how ex BNP and EDL members are joining the Liebour party.

  22. Hello this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  23. To the men above who think this isn’t sexist or a big deal to describe women as ‘bitches… who need a good beating’, are you being deliberately provocative, or do you really not know the stats for bitches who take a good beating, usually from partners or ex partners, in this country…. 3 of those bitches die every week…. many more live a pretty shit life and feel they have nowhere safe to turn… sometimes because they’re worried they won’t be believed or taken seriously. People like this in the public eye don’t help. You’d surely expect public figures to set a half way decent example. And yes, facebook clearly isn’t private, or who reported him for what he’d written? Just on a personal note… what sort of middle aged man calls young women ‘bitches’ and says they deserve a beating? Really….. oh and re the ‘vagina’ comment….. it’s not the same calling someone a cunt…. talking about beating someone is making light of violence …. and the word ‘bitches’ directed at women, who have not actually said anything nasty themselves, but perhaps not done their job as well as they could have, is incredibly hateful and demeaning…. to me no better than using the N word or talking about gay people in a demeaning way……

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