It seems that Barclays signed up to sponsor a category for the Stonewall 2012 Awards – the Sports Personality of the Year. But the smelly stuff hit the fan when the bank discovered that a new award was to be introduced this year - Bigot of the Year, and those nominated for the 'award' are said to include a Cardinal, an Archbishop, a member of the House of Lords and the former leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance.
Quite understandably, the bank has moved to distance itself from the award, and Mark Q McLane, Managing Director, Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, has said:
'In my capacity as Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion for the bank I have ultimate accountability for our relationships with diversity organisations, including with Stonewall here in the UK.
Barclays prioritises diversity and we champion equal treatment for all individuals. We oppose discrimination in any form, whether that be due to gender, ethnicity, disability, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. We work with a range of groups around the world on this agenda.
As part of what is a positive longstanding relationship with Stonewall we were approached to see if we would be willing to sponsor a category for the 2012 Awards, which we agreed to do – the Sports Personality of the Year – on the understanding that the awards are a celebration of diversity and positive impact in our communities.
I have recently been made aware of the inclusion of a ‘Bigot of the Year’ category in the awards. Let me be absolutely clear that Barclays does not support that award category either financially, or in principle and have informed Stonewall that should they decide to continue with this category we will not support this event in the future. To label any individual so subjectively and pejoratively runs contrary to our view on fair treatment, and detracts from what should be a wholly positively focused event'.
image: © Toby Jagmohan