An apology from easyJet over an article about the Twelfth of July parades in its in-flight magazine has been branded “ludicrous” by the Orange Order.
The Order’s director of services, Dr David Hume, said he was appalled that the low-cost airline had taken action based on a small number of complaints.
The article described the parades as “colourful,” and said: ‘They’re great to watch, just check ahead for travel disruptions and advice.”
A blogger from Northern Ireland read the magazine and then wrote to easyJet to complain.
In his blog, he asked whether the airline would encourage tourists heading to Serbia to visit festivals which might “exacerbate ethnic tensions”.
The airline then confirmed in an email to Sammy McNally that it “will not be including such recommendations in future”. It also issued the following apologetic statement to Mr McNally.
“Writers are always locally based and are respected journalists in their community and it’s their expertise and on-the-ground knowledge that makes the content of our guides so useful,” it said.
“In this instance the author of our Belfast guide felt the event’s inclusion was of cultural interest to our readers.
“However, we fully understand the sensitivities around the event and apologise for it not being spotted at our normally rigorous editorial sign off,” the Independent reported.
“It really is ludicrous,” Dr Hume told the BBC’s Talkback programme. “I’m just appalled that they have taken this decision. I think a lot of people will see it as a demonisation of the Orange Order.”
DUP MLA William Humphrey said it was “an outrageous overreaction”.
“easyJet’s apology has caused great offence to many of those people, but none of this appears to matter to easyJet in their desire to placate the sectarianism of a blogger who cannot tolerate the 12th July being mentioned in any kind of positive light.”
An easyJet spokeswoman said the July edition of the magazine remained on flights until the normal replacement date of August 1, but confirmed they had received four complaints.
“easyJet Traveller should feature light destination related content and does not try and make any political statement ... so [we] apologised to those who said they were offended. It is not our intention to upset any of our customers,” she said.