Home > Theological > Backing marriage is “evil” according to Tesco boss and Tesco response

Backing marriage is “evil” according to Tesco boss and Tesco response

December 17th, 2011

tesco01_180pxAs you plan your Christmas shopping, you may be interested to read this.

Christians are “evil” if they resist the redefinition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage, the Head of Research and Development at Tesco.com has said.

The company has already faced criticism for dumping its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ and sponsoring London’s gay pride festival.

If you won’t be shopping at Tesco this Christmas, tell them so on their Facebook page: facebook.com/tesco or email CEO Philip Clarke: [email protected]

The “evil Christians” comment was made by Nick Lansley, Head of Research and Development for the Tesco website.

He wrote: “I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.”

The comments appeared on Mr Lansley’s profile page on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.com, where he lists his employment as “Head of R&D at Tesco.com”. But following complaints to Tesco the remarks have now been removed.


The Daily Telegraph carried an apology from Tesco on Tues 20 December 2011 over the “evil Christians” outburst. The report said that faced with the prospect of a Christmas boycott, the supermarket chain distanced itself from Nick Lansley, the head of research and development at tesco.com. A Tesco spokesman said Mr Lansley’s remarks “in no way reflect the views of Tesco. We are very sorry that anyone might have thought there was any blurring of the boundary between his personal comments and work for Tesco”.


This is a reply to my email to the Chief Executive of Tesco which I received on December 22. I appreciate the spirit and content of this response, and am happy to withdraw the final sentence of my original posting.

Thank you for your e mail addressed to Philip Clarke, our Chief Executive, regarding the on-line activities of one of our staff.

I can appreciate your concern that comments made on the internet by a Tesco member of staff, Nick Lansley, might represent the views of Tesco itself.  I want to reassure you in the clearest possible terms that Mr Lansley’s comments and postings, made in a personal capacity, in no way reflect the views of Tesco.  Our values as a company are such that we abhor criticism of any religion, and we knew nothing about Mr Lansley’s comments and postings until they were brought to our attention.  It is not for us to dictate or limit those private views but we do not tolerate statements that insult others or their beliefs.  For that reason, when Mr Lansley was found to have posted material on his blog which insulted the religious beliefs of others, he was reminded of Tesco’s policy and the material was removed forthwith.

We know that being the UK’s leading retailer carries unique responsibilities.  We have a responsibility to show leadership, as we do on issues like climate change and helping to develop our people’s skills.  We also have a responsibility to listen carefully to our many and diverse customers and stakeholders, respect their views and seek to balance their opinions in the decisions we make.  This is not always easy, particularly on issues where opinions can differ markedly.  Whatever the issue, it is never our intention deliberately to inflame or polarise opinion or to make an already contentious debate more contentious.

We very much accept that, however well-intentioned we are, we do not always get everything right for everyone.  I do hope, however, that the explanation gives you some reassurance about how seriously we take the views of all our stakeholders, and the value we attach to tolerance and inclusion. I hope also that it begins to restore your confidence that Tesco does try to do the right thing and does indeed listen to your feedback.

Kind regards

Modupeola Ogutuga

Customer Service Executive

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