Bank apologizes after employee tells customer that 'all vegans should be punched in the face'

Ross McGuinness
NatWest has apologized for the staff member’s outburst. (Photo: PA)
NatWest has apologized for the staff member’s outburst. (Photo: PA)

A woman in the U.K. who called a bank to apply for a loan was told by a member of staff that “all vegans should be punched in the face.”

The customer from Bristol, England, who didn’t want to be named, contacted NatWest by phone to request a loan to pay for a £400 (about $520) nutrition course.

The woman told BBC Radio Bristol that the call, which took place on Jan. 23, made her “really uncomfortable.”

When discussing her interest in the nutrition course, the unidentified bank employee told her that “all vegans should be punched in the face.”

He also said that vegan activists had drawn pictures of animals and written messages such as “friends not food” in chalk on the pavement near his home, and felt that “vegans were forcing their beliefs on to him.”

“He wasn’t happy to be speaking to me at all,” she told the BBC. “His tone was really unpleasant.

“Being vegan is a lifestyle choice, I shouldn’t be penalized for it, especially by a big organization. It’s extremely unfair.”

The vegan customer was left upset by the phone call. (Photo: PA)
The vegan customer was left upset by the phone call. (Photo: PA)

Her application was also rejected, though NatWest has since offered to pay for the course after listening to a recording of the call.

The bank apologized to the customer and said the staff member’s conduct was “wholly inappropriate.”

It also offered her compensation of just under £200 (about $260).

“We are extremely sorry for the way our customer was treated by a member of our staff and apologize for any distress and upset that this behavior caused,” the bank said in a statement.

“These comments were wholly inappropriate, and we have commenced disciplinary proceedings. We have also provided feedback to the relevant sections of the bank to ensure that lessons are learnt so that a situation like this never happens again.”

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