PR boss resigns after saying his firm doesn't hire 'blacks, gays or Catholics'

Anita Singh
·2-min read
Gordon Beattie - Beattie Communications/PA
Gordon Beattie - Beattie Communications/PA

The founder of a PR company has resigned as chairman over a “tone deaf” social media post boasting that his firm does not hire “blacks, gays or Catholics”.

In the message on LinkedIn, the business site, Gordon Beattie explained that his company took on talented people regardless of their race, sexual orientation or religion.

He founded Beattie Communications 40 years ago and the company’s website lists Tesco and the Vue cinema chain among its clients. Based in Scotland, it has nine offices across the UK.

Mr Beattie said the post had been issued with “the best of intent” but accepted that he had expressed it using inappropriate language.

Gordon Beattie's LinkedIn post
Gordon Beattie's LinkedIn post

Mr Beattie wrote on LinkedIn: “At Beattie Communications, we don’t hire blacks, gays or Catholics.

“We sign talented people and we don’t care about the colour of their skin, sexual orientation or religion. That’s the way it should be with every company - only hire people for their talent, experience, knowledge and wisdom.”

Critics of the post included Barrington Reeves, founder of the Black Scottish Business Fund, who labelled it “tone deaf, insensitive, racist, homophobic and utterly unacceptable”.

Initially, Mr Beattie offered an apology and explained that he was being “deliberately controversial” to draw attention to the company’s emphasis on talent. But he later announced he was stepping down.

In his resignation statement, Mr Beattie said: “My post was issued with the best of intent, but it did not take account of the complexities of creating a level playing field - of which I am well aware - and the language I used was inappropriate.

"I am truly sorry for the embarrassment I have caused the wonderful team across the business and our clients, and for the offence it has clearly caused.

"It's a wrench to step down as chair but I feel I have no alternative. The time is right to go."

Laurna Woods, Beattie Communications chief executive, said there were no excuses for the “out of touch” language used by Mr Beattie. She added: “I'm personally saddened that he has chosen to resign as I have worked closely with him for 25 years and I can testify that he does not have a prejudiced bone in his body.”

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