Published: 08:00, 14 June 2014 |
Updated: 15:17, 15 June 2014
A town councillor has today apologised for causing offence after claiming a man selling copies of the Big Issue should not take up space on a bench outside Waitrose.
Cllr Sue Ferguson posted her views about the registered magazine seller sitting outside the Tenterden supermarket on Twitter on Thursday.
Her message received a social media backlash, with users criticising her for discriminating against the “homeless” man.
The tweet, directed to the Waitrose team, said: “I don’t think your new bench outside Tenterden should be used by Big Issue seller, means we can’t use it."
But a Waitrose spokesman told KentOnline: “It is a public bench and anyone is welcome to sit there.”
Cllr Ferguson’s post was met with several responses on Twitter from people stunned by her comment.
One user, called Stella, said: "Shame on you. I’d say a homeless person needs it more, not having a home and that..."
Georgina Chapman said: "Sue are you for real? And what makes you so sure he wouldn't stand up if others needed it?"
Fellow Twitter user James Alexander posted: "I don't think anyone has exclusive use of a public bench, do they?"
The town councillor has now apologised for the post and insists her tweet was not discriminating against the homeless or Big Issue sellers.
Cllr Ferguson, who has since deleted the post, said: “I appreciate that I have upset some people with my comment on the Big Issue seller outside Waitrose.
“That was not my intention, and I can only apologise for giving offence.
“I simply wanted to make the point that we have many elderly people in the town, and that they should have priority in using the bench.
“Big Issue sellers deserve our support, and I was not intending to suggest otherwise.”
Cllr Ferguson - south ward member for Tenterden - added that since she posted the tweet a hate campaign has been launched against her, forcing her to make her Twitter page private.
She added: “I have received some serious abuse. I have reported the user to Twitter.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.