Northern Ireland hotel defends itself for not tackling sectarian "F*** the Pope and the IRA" chanting at wedding
A Co Antrim hotel has defended not acting to end a wedding reception after a video of a newlywed couple singing "F*** the Pope and the IRA" went viral.
Jennie Andrews (32) and her groom Christopher 'Sid' Stevenson entered their reception at Belfast Loughshore Hotel near Carrickfergus on Friday to the chants. Several children were in attendance.
A video of the couple singing the sectarian words to the tune of Tina Turner's Simply The Best has been viewed over a million times.
Yesterday the Belfast Loughshore Hotel responded after being bombarded with comments, private messages and emails.
A statement from the operations director explained why the hotel manager didn't step in and put a stop to the bigoted behaviour going on in the Loughview Suite.
"I as the leader of the company would never ask or expect anyone who works with me to do something that I would not do myself," it read.
"I can assure you all that I would not be prepared to 'pull the plug' and risk what was a 90-second episode where no one was hurt becoming something much worse."
The statement said that the manager had the full support of colleagues and will not be responding to further enquiries.
It assured guests that the hotel is committed to providing the highest standards of customer service "irrespective of their race, colour, creed or religious beliefs".
It comes after cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI removed content from social media which featured the new bride, who is in remission following a lymphoma diagnosis in 2011.
A spokesperson for the charity said the content of the wedding video "in no way reflects the views or position of the charity", leaving it with no choice but to take action. "We did not wish to provide a further outlet for abusive comments on our threads," they added.
Mother-of-three Andrews described her ongoing battle with mental health in the deleted short film, which was part of the charity's Love Letter campaign.
"Coping with a miscarriage and losing your hair leading to depression and anxiety - yet you always hoped that you would beat this disease," she told her younger self.
Andrews and Stevenson have deleted their social media accounts since the footage of them singing the bigoted lyrics to an anthem popular with former UFF leader Johnny Adair and his terrorist cronies.
Some wedding guests who joined in have also suspended their social media accounts in order to avoid criticism by disgusted viewers, who branded the video "pathetic", "sick" and "embarrassing".