A landlady has hit back at 'ridiculous and inaccurate' claims that her pub is homophobic.

Michelle Tempest is the new owner of The Duke of Cornwall on St Edmund Street in Weymouth, along with her partner Jason Osborne, who is also a borough councillor. 

A post on Facebook which has atracted many comments and has been shared more than 100 times has accused the landlady of kicking out a gay couple for kissing and urging people to boycott the pub.

But Miss Tempest says the claim she asked people to leave because they were gay is "completely untrue". She is concerned the claim could affect her business.

A neighbouring bar owner and Pubwatch committee member says he backs her version of events.

The Facebook post was also raised at a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council meeting on Thursday evening where Cllr Andy Blackwood called on councillors to investigate the rumours.

He said Weymouth 'cannot be labelled as a homophobic town'.

The alleged incident happened on Bank Holiday Monday.

Miss Tempest explained a group of people, who appeared intoxicated, came into the pub.

She said: "We had a lot of people trying to enjoy our folk musician and this group were acting completely inappropriately.

"I walked over and asked the group to behave or leave and they left without incident. 

"A different man, who was not part of the group, then came over from T-Bar and asked the staff if we were 'a gay friendly pub'.

"We explained we welcome everyone who is a friend of The Duke. We absolutely don't discriminate against anyone – whether they are black, white, gay, straight."

She added: "The man then tried to bring the group back in and I refused them entrance.

"He shouted and tried to intimidate us outside the front door so we called the police. 

"They told the police that I had thrown them out because they were kissing as gay people. This is ridiculous and inaccurate.

"I had asked them to behave or they would be asked to leave and they left. It's nothing to do with their sexual preference or colour."

Miss Tempest says hurtful accusations are being made against her on social media, and says it has led to negative reviews of the business on TripAdvisor.

She said: "It's very hurtful and unfair. 

"After all the joy of the launch of The Duke, it's been a hideous reality check, do we ignore disruptive behaviour for fear of being labelled racist and homophobic?

"This incident has shook me up quite a bit. I've lost a bit of confidence. 
"We're worried that this could ruin our reputation and business."

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The person who wrote the post on Facebook, who did not want to be named, said: “I had come out from a bar across the road and outside there was a couple who said they had been kicked out of the Duke of Cornwall for kissing because they were gay.

“I went in to the pub and ordered a drink and asked the bartender to clarify if there was a problem with gay couples kissing in there. She said no, so I ordered a few more drinks and went back outside.

“When I tried to come back in the landlady refused to let me enter, claiming I was ‘going to be trouble’.

“We got in to a debate and I got a bit hot-headed. I asked her if she had a problem because I was black and if she had a problem with gay couples.

“When the police came there were other witnesses who said that there was nothing the gay couple were doing wrong and nothing untoward.

I’m not one to post everything on social media, but I felt that something needed to be said here.

Jamie Crage, who is the owner of the Closet and T-Bar opposite the Duke of Cornwall and is a committee member of Pubwatch, has been in discussions with Miss Tempest about the incident.

He said: "After seeing these posts online I was very concerned so wanted to follow up what had happened. 

"After seeing CCTV and speaking to parties involved I would 100 per cent back up the staff at The Duke.

"Being a gay man myself I know how easy these things can get out of hand having witnessed similar situations.

"I have experienced similar incidents in the past at my venues where you have reused entry or warned people about their behaviour and they try to blame you for being discriminative when in fact they're behaving inappropriately. 

"Social media can get too much and for businesses it's difficult to manage without upsetting other people. 

"People get very personal and it becomes a vicious attack on a business which as you can imagine can cause a lot of damage. 

"The staff at The Duke are absolutely lovely people and I wish them all the best."

Dorset Echo:

A spokesman for Dorset Police said officers were called to the pub on Monday evening following reports of a man who was refusing to leave the premises.

The spokesman said: "It was reported that the man was being aggressive towards members of staff.

"He was removed from the premises about 10pm but then returned about 10.10pm. Police then attended.

"The man was refused entry and left the area."