The Independent London Newspaper
24th April 2014

Letters

Flash mob threat after breastfeeding mum was told to leave the King William IV pub

Lauren Beaman and baby Mollie were asked to leave the King William IV pub

Parents ready to hit back with ‘feed-in’ protest as landlady defends her decision

Published: 21st April, 2011
by TOM FOOT

MOTHERS are planning a flash mob “feed-in” at a landmark pub after a woman breastfeeding her baby was told to leave.

The parents are outraged that staff at the King William IV told Lauren Beaman to stop breastfeeding inside the Hampstead High Street pub on Saturday afternoon.

The pub’s owner has defended the decision to ask the 25-year-old and her seven-month-old tot, Mollie, to leave. 

But Ms Beaman, who lives in Hampstead, said: “The barmaid rushed over, stood in the middle of the room, pointed at me and shouted, ‘you can’t do that in here – no, no, get out’. I asked why, and she said because ‘people are eating’. It made me feel so uncomfortable. I was shocked.”

She added: “Three men had been jeering about the ‘invasion of the prammy mammies’ or something. Then they started heckling us, yelling and waving magazines around. One woman said, ‘well, I did just get an eyeful of your boob and I’m eating’. It wasn’t like I was giving everyone an eyeful. I am very discreet. Someone has suggested we should go to the toilet. Would you want to have your dinner where people go to the loo?”

Ms Beaman’s friend Lara Johns, 34, who is pregnant, was also asked to leave.

King William IV owner Elaine Loughran insisted her pub was open to all, but that customers had complained after Ms Beaman “whupped her boob out”.

She told the New Journal: “She wasn’t one of my customers because she hadn’t bought anything. I’ve checked the CCTV and she didn’t come to the bar. She just put the baby down on the floor and then everyone was like, ‘oh my god, is she going to change the nappy?’.

“Look, I’m a mother myself, and everyone is welcome in this pub, but the fact is if my customers complain I have to act on it. I’m not against breastfeeding. There are discreet tops that women can buy, though, rather than get the whole breast out. It wasn’t the best time as well, we had lots of guys coming in to watch the FA Cup semi-final.”

She added: “It’s my legal right to refuse ser­vice to anyone.”

Legislation, which came into effect last year under the Equality Act, has made it illegal to ban mothers from breastfeeding in public places. But the law of the land also ensures licensees can refuse service to whoever they like.

Ms Beaman – a personal trainer and sports massage expert – said she got the idea for the feed-in protest after a recent “kiss-in” outside a Soho pub where a gay couple were allegedly asked to leave after embracing in an “innocent snog”. The John Snow pub was forced to close for the evening.

“I’ve been talking to the NCT [National Childbirth Trust] groups and there are lots of people in Hampstead interested in a feed-in,” said Ms Beaman. “We are always out in Hampstead. I think it would make a really powerful protest. It’s an important issue.”

Hampstead Village is often mocked for being a haven for mothers who like taking their children to the Heath and sit and chat over expensive coffee during the day.

The phrase “invasion of the prammy mammies” appears on the front page of the current issue of community magazine, Hampstead Village Voice, which has a three-page spoof photo feature on “Pramstead”. 

The King William IV is one of Hampstead’s most popular pubs, known as a gay-friendly bar since the 1930s – 30 years before homosexuality was legalised. Ms Loughan said her staff were known  for being “accommodating”.

According to the NHS, Camden is a national leader when it comes to breastfeeding rights. NHS Camden funded the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, encouraging businesses to welcome breastfeeding mums and to put stickers up in their windows.

 

Comments

They might be accomodating but they are breaking the law

The sex discrimination act has protected breastfeeding women long before the Equality act of 2010. This woman should sue the pub -it is actually against the law to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop brestfeeding her child and leave. What about the child's right to feed? You wouldn't ask a customer to leave if they were in the middle of their meal, would you? Pretty sure it would be against their human rights....?
I still find it amazing that although the breastfeeding cessation age across the globe is 2 years, people in the UK are so ignorant about the topic -let alone knowing about the multiple benefits of long term, natural breastfeeding to the MOTHER AND child. I really hope that all breastfeeding women will continue to nurse in public (despite idiotic behaviour such as this) as this is the only way to normalise breastfeeding to the masses and increase breastfeeding rates across the country (which should have a huge impact on the pressures of NHS!). I frequently breastfeed my 14month old in public and have never had a problem, so far. Dr Dawson, Poole, Dorset

well excuuuuuse me

Now i can tell you something right now. i was there when this incident occured and it makes me soo mad how people throw the blame around. i have no problem with breastfeeding at all. But what mother wonders into a PUB sits in the middle of the restourant area and then begins to breastfeed a baby. can i also add that on this highstreet there are several restourants and a mcdonals WITH baby changing facilities......i know the owner of this pub and not only is she a loving mother but always tries to do her best by the local community. can i also add that within ten minutes of the woman leaving the owner began recieving phonecalls from newspapers. you know what that tells me? that this "mother" saw the whole no gay kissing protest. and probably thought, why not try this for myself. i have seen the owner invite mothers upstairs to a more private area to let them breastfeed, change babies nappies. finally might i also add this mother was not a paying customer...................

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