Pregnant woman who was denied use of cafe loo denies ‘bullying’ after online post creates fierce storm of debate

The Chalkboard cafe in Windsor Street, Melton EMN-150809-130626001

The Chalkboard cafe in Windsor Street, Melton EMN-150809-130626001

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“We never attempted to bully anyone at all or start a witch hunt, we don’t condone anything like that,” insisted Hannah and Jonny after their story whipped up a fierce storm of online debate.

At the time of going to press, a post which Jonny put up on a local community Facebook page on Friday, telling of their bad experience and encouraging others to share his post about Chalkboard, had been shared more than 36,000 times, had more than 11,000 likes and attracted 4,000 comments.

Hannah Sperry with her fiancee, Jonny Lawrence, and their one-year-old daughter, Luna EMN-150809-094514001

Hannah Sperry with her fiancee, Jonny Lawrence, and their one-year-old daughter, Luna EMN-150809-094514001

Since his post a number of people have written negative reviews of Chalkboard on Trip Advisor, the majority of which make reference to the café refusing to let Hannah use its loos.

There are also some glowing reviews of the café on the site, published both before and after what happened on Friday.

Hannah said: “The Facebook post has gone much further than we expected. We’re not trying to ruin someone’s life and we’ve never attempted to bully anyone at all.

“We’ve had some bad comments made towards us too. It’s not in our control how people will react.

“If some of the reviews are from people who have never been in Chalkboard, that’s when it looks like a witch hunt and bullying.

“We don’t condone anything like that.

“We have tried to calm a few things down but it just keeps being brought up again.

“We support a lot of local businesses and I really appreciate kindness in local stores.

“It has caused so much debate but we’d just like something positive to come from it all and that it raises awareness about a public issue.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has been kind and supportive on our Facebook post.”

Jonny added: “I don’t have any regrets because I told the man in the café I was going to put something online.

“People have said we’re bullying but they have to remember it was one post put on one page of Facebook first that started it before it all completely blew up.”

Neil Rockett, owner of the Melton Health Store who helped Hannah, is among those who have hit out at people who have targeted “unfair” online criticism at Chalkboard.

He said: “I helped the lady because the nature of my business is that I understand, but my shop isn’t a public convenience.

“I think it’s totally unfair for people to just jump on the bandwagon and write bad reviews about the café on other sites, especially if they’ve never eaten there.

“It’s cyber bullying at the end of the day.”