Curry is one of the world's most popular dishes, but apparently it doesn't fly with Fergus Wilson, one of Britain's biggest buy-to-let landlords.
"I have said that I will not be taking Asian, Pakistani, and Indian people, generally, where the nationality consumes a lot of curry," the multi-millionaire made clear in a video statement. "And there's been a reaction, with people saying it's racist, but from what I can see on the internet today, the vast majority of people agree with the action I've taken."
What part of the internet is Wilson lost in? Unfortunately, this isn't a new genre of story with landlords or with Wilson.
Earlier this year, Wilson also banned victims of domestic violence and plumbers from his apartments because the former's violent partner might do damage to the property and the latter "come up with jobs that don't need doing."
"If ever a person came in wearing pink socks and defaulted on rent, and it became a regular problem, then we would stop renting for people who wear pink socks," he said in defense of his decision.
Let that sink in for a minute. Victims of domestic violence, plumbers, people of Asian, Pakistani, and Indian descent — apparently they're all just pink socks.
In an email to agents at Evolution Properties (which was subsequently leaked to the media), he wrote: "No colored people because of the curry smell at the end of tenancy."
When the story took heat, Wilson defended himself to The Sun by insisting it was a cost-saving decision.
"To be honest, we're getting overloaded with colored people," he said. "It is a problem with certain types of colored people — those that consume curry — it sticks to the carpet. You have to get some chemical thing that takes the smell out. In extreme places you have to replace the carpet."
Current UK law does not consider banning any group of people from renting a criminal offense, but racial discrimination on the part of landlords is against civil law. With the amount of outrage at Wilson's actions (one could even argue that it's the "vast majority" of the public's reactions), a tenant-filed lawsuit wouldn't be surprising.
"This is the unacceptable face of the housing crisis," a spokesperson for anti-racism charity HOPE stated. "There is something broken in the system when such a powerful figure can get away with such an appalling policy."
The Telegraph reported that Wilson also bars single parents, workers on low incomes, families with children, pet owners, smokers, and single adults from his properties. Who's left?
People like Fergus Wilson. Right.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Edgar Su