Monday, August 8, 2011

Eggheads star CJ de Mooi banned from wearing ‘Some people are Gay. Get over it’ T-shirt to chess awards


CJ de Mooi, star of BBC 2′s Eggheads, has revealed that he was banned from presenting prizes to the winners of the British Chess Championship because he was wearing a Stonewall ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’ T-shirt.

De Mooi, the current president of the English Chess Federation had spent the day in Sheffield at the championship wearing the pro-gay equality T-shirt.

“At this morning’s prize giving ceremony of the Darwin Strategic British Chess Championships 2011 an arbiter approached me saying she had ‘personal reservations’ about me wearing a Stonewall t-shirt when presenting prizes to juniors. It was apparently inappropriate for me to wear something mentioning ‘sexuality’ in such an environment,” De Mooi said in a statement posted online.

“I did not consider this an issue as I had worn it the previous day in the playing hall and no objections were raised. I am fully CRB checked and was registering my public support of a charity.”

De Mooi gave organisers the decision for him to allow him to either wear the T-shirt and present all the prizes or none. The organisers decided it would be none.

Laura Doughty, deputy chief executive of Stonewall UK, told the Guardian website: “We think our T-shirts are lovely and don’t see why anyone would object to anyone wearing one, least of all chess players.”

On Twitter, De Mooi posted: “I’ve offered my resignation to the ECF [English Chess Federation] and I think I’ll give up and go to sleep too.”

Update (5pm)
Laura Barnes, the official referred to has denied that De Mooi was banned from wearing the T-shirt. She claims in a statement that she was “worried that children who had come for chess may be exploited in photo opportunities for a different issue/charity.” She also wrote that De Mooi’s T-shirt might not be considered as “smart-casual” as dictated by the event’s dress code.

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