@jdwtweet had a dish cloth waved in my face by the manager (Darcey) who demanded I cover up @ furze wen bexleyheath pic.twitter.com/5ZGwjWi8OL
- Olivia Pozniak (@Slingmama) September 21, 2014
A mum who was breastfeeding her 11-week-old baby at a local pub says she was asked to cover up with a 'dirty dishcloth' by a manager.
Olivia Pozniak, 25, was having breakfast with friends at the Furze Wren, a Wetherspoon pub in the south-east London suburb of Bexleyheath, when the incident occurred.
She told her local newspaper she was 'shocked' when a member of staff approached the table while she was breastfeeding 11-week-old, Louie.
"To me it's all the same, syringe, boob, bottle - you're just feeding your baby," said Olivia. "So I was shocked when a member of staff, who claimed to be the manager, came over with a dirty dishcloth - the sort you use to wipe down the bar - and said 'you're disturbing the other customers, can you cover up?'"
The mum-of-four refused to take the request lying down, however she told the paper: "I stood up and asked the other customers - there were only about 15 of them - if they had a problem and they all said no."
The day after the encounter, Olivia took to Twitter ridiculing the stigma surrounding breastfeeding when tops which reveal far more skin are a common sight in pubs.
Posting two pictures of herself on Saturday night and Sunday morning, she asked 'which one is offensive?'.
Saturday night vs Sunday morning. Which one is offensive? #breastfeeding #discrimination #freethenipple @jdwtweet pic.twitter.com/e42jTRd6tR
- Olivia Pozniak (@Slingmama) September 22, 2014
Olivia breastfed all three of her older children - aged five, four and two - and says that she knows the law surrounding breastfeeding is on her side.
"What he has done is against the Equality Act which came into force in 2010 and Wetherspoon are supposed to be breastfeeding friendly," she told the News Shopper.
Story continues after this video.
To protest her treatment and ensure other breastfeeding mums are aware of their rights, Olivia is now organising a feeding 'sit-in' at the Furze Wren pub. Bottle feeding mums are welcome to join the 'boob and bottle' protest, which will be held at 10am tomorrow (September 25).
On Olivia's Twitter and on the event's Facebook page, other mums were quick to express their indignation, swapping stories of similar experiences.
And Olivia's stand seems to have got through to Wetherspoon bosses, too. A spokesman for the firm said that they 'apologise wholeheartedly' for the unpleasant experience, stressing that Wetherspoon's official policy was to welcome breastfeeding mums.
"The Wetherspoon staff member made a judgement of error in this case," company representative Eddie Gershon said. "There are no excuses and we do not offer one. We completely understand that this incident upset the lady in question and hope she accepts our apology."
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