Bloggers offer to talk to St Neots cafe owner over anti-gay comments row

PUBLISHED: 10:03 04 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:03 04 February 2013

St Neots Cafe owner Paul Shinners says thank you to his customers, with staff (left ) Patsy Delaney-Pyke, and (right) Jenny Hallybone

St Neots Cafe owner Paul Shinners says thank you to his customers, with staff (left ) Patsy Delaney-Pyke, and (right) Jenny Hallybone

Archant

TWO bloggers who accused a St Neots cafe owner of making anti-gay remarks at Christian rally have offered to talk to him.

Barry Duke, editor of the atheist magazine Freethinker, and the human rights campaigner Melanie Nathan, who writes the blog www.oblogdeeoblogda.me, insisted they were right to post the items about Cornerstone Cafe owner Paul Shinners on their respective websites.

The pair alleged that Mr Shinners had said that Uganda, the country he was visiting, would be “blessed” if it passed the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill - a claim Mr Shinners vehemently denies.

However, Ms Nathan said she would not apologise for the post and said Mr Shinners had not contacted her directly to ask for an apology.

“There is no question about it in my mind at all,” she said. “He stood on that stage and spoke those words.”

Ms Nathan said she used “blogger’s licence” to report his words as quoted by The Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda. She said she did not contact him to ask him about his remarks until after she had posted the piece.

Mr Shinners says the quote was not related to the anti-gay bill and that she and Mr Duke should have contacted him first for an explanation.

“People picked it up and ran with it,” Ms Nathan said. “I’m actually really glad it went where it did. People from his local area started to ask questions about the guy in their midst.”

Mr Duke, who lives in Spain, said: “He hasn’t explained an awful lot about how that comment came about. If he has a genuine, plausible explanation I would be more than happy to discuss with him, carry a statement to that effect and blog it accordingly.”

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