0range Order lambasts easyJet Twelfth apology to blogger
The Orange Order has lambasted easyJet for "offending thousands" by apologising to a blogger who complained that the airline's in-flight magazine had recommended Twelfth of July parades to tourists.
Shankill Orangeman William Humphrey said the Grand Lodge of Ireland wanted a full explanation from the airline, after it said it would no longer promote the Twelfth following the complaint.
The North Belfast MLA said the airline's "outrageous overreaction" had caused "great offence" to the Orange Order and its supporters.
He now wants the Order's grand secretary Drew Nelson to raise the issue with easyJet in the face of the carrier's apparent "desire to placate the sectarianism of a blogger who cannot tolerate the Twelfth of July being mentioned in any kind of positive light".
"I will be particularly interested to hear exactly what their 'rigorous editorial sign-off' processes actually are and how these mean that Twelfth parades cannot be spoken of," added Mr Humphrey.
EasyJet stressed its apology extended solely to those who complained about the article.
But it has agreed it will no longer promote the marching season.
Last night a spokeswoman said its magazine "should feature light destination-related content and does not try and make any political statement".
She added it was "not our intention to upset any of our customers".
The budget airline's Traveller magazine had listed parades among suggestions for Belfast bars and restaurants, stating they were "great to watch".
"Hundreds of colourful parades take place across Northern Ireland on July 12 bank holiday to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne," the magazine said.
The piece prompted one blogger from Northern Ireland to compare the parades to Serbian festivals that might "exacerbate ethnic tensions".
Four other passengers who read the July issue of Traveller also wrote to the airline to complain, easyJet added last night.
It also confirmed that the edition in which it appeared had not been removed from its planes, as feared by the Orange Order.
"The July issue of Traveller remained onboard throughout July and was replaced with the August issue on August 1, which is normal each month," said the spokeswoman.
She added that the content of its magazine is produced by Ink media company, which publishes travel magazines for some of the world's largest airlines.
"The author of our Belfast guide felt the event's inclusion was of cultural interest to our readers," the airline said.