Coronation Street star blasts Willow after friend is rejected entry

Photo: Jack Western
Photo: Jack Western

Coronation Street star Antony Cotton has blasted student disco and York favourite The Willow Restaurant after a friend was rejected entry because he was “in the army.”

Cotton, who plays factory worker Sean Tully in the ITV soap, took to Twitter to express his anger when his friend was turned away from the venue last Saturday evening.

“The Willow in York have just turned my friend away simply because he’s in the army. This, just after Remembrance Sunday. Charming,” he said.

Users of the social networking website leapt to the 38-year-old’s friend’s defence.

One said: “That is unbelievable..they should be held to account, surely.” [sic]

Another commented: “Shocking how some people have no respect for the hard work our soldiers do x the landlord/lady needs to be ashamed.” [sic]

Willow DJ Wallace insisted that the restaurant and disco was a “student-only venue,” and that the owner was “within his rights” to refuse entry.

“Willow is a student only venue. The owner makes exceptions for certain regulars and relaxes the rules during the holidays,” she said on Twitter.

“I only DJ there. Tommy [the owner] uses his own discretion I’m afraid. He’s quite within his rights, unfortunately.”

But the Weatherfield actor said rejecting access to non-students was a “disgraceful policy.”

He wrote: “It’s a disgraceful policy. My friend was with a group – some students, some not. All allowed in apart from him.

“The bouncer only stopped him because when he got his driving licence out for ID, the bouncer saw the top of his Army pass.

“He then had the humiliation of being pull out of the line and made to wait whilst he got hold of his friends who were all.” [sic]

Cotton described the treatment as “discrimination in its ugliest form.”

“It is discrimination in it’s ugliest form. And like I said, it was humiliating in the extreme,” he wrote.

Vision contacted the elusive owner Tommy Fong, who said “I’m not bothered” by the incident.

Jack Gevertz
Jack Gevertz is the former editor-in-chief of York Vision.

16 Comments

  1. Isidore of Seville
    23 November 2013 - 15:43 GMT

    Dude should suck it up. Willow only allows students in, it’s been their policy for decades, and I think most of the people who go there are quite happy for it to be that way. Cotton’s friend shouldn’t get any special privileges over any other non-student just because he’s in the army.

  2. Isidore of Seville
    23 November 2013 - 15:45 GMT

    Also, calling it ‘discrimination’ is hilarious beyond belief.

  3. Jonny
    23 November 2013 - 16:27 GMT

    This was my night out. This guy is my friend. It was discrimination because the bouncer called my gay friend a ‘fucking queer’, which is homophobic abuse. I am a willow regular and this has pissed me right off.

  4. Regular Willower
    23 November 2013 - 16:30 GMT

    It wasn’t *because* he was in the army, it’s because he wasn’t a student.

    Even if it was, it’s Tommy’s venue, he can turn away who he likes, it’s not disgraceful, he doesn’t owe him ANYTHING at all.

    If people are disgusted then don’t go to Willow and he will lose revenue, otherwise I don’t see what the fuss is about

  5. Dave Taylor
    23 November 2013 - 17:12 GMT

    The Willow doesn’t ONLY let students in, but it is still within the owner’s rights to refuse entry. ‘Discrimination’ would have to mean a form of discrimination outlawed in England & Wales in order for him to have any redress under the Law.

  6. All roads lead to Willow... unless Tommy Fong say NO!
    23 November 2013 - 17:14 GMT

    Tommy Fong: “I’m not bothered”

    Baaaahahahahahaahahaa!!! What a legend.

    Srsly though. What an idiot. He wasn’t turned away because he was in the Army, to flog a dead horse one more time, he was refused because he wasn’t a student.

    Also, this story sounds very familiar to one that circulated last year. Almost identical actually; Soldier turned away from a student only venue. Odd, is this recurrent theme something army boiz struggle with? Are we allowed on their barracks to drink at our leisure? Discrimination!!

  7. Mike
    23 November 2013 - 17:33 GMT

    Describing the policy as ‘disgraceful’ just means it’s in keeping with the Willow itself. What else would you expect from Tommy?

  8. Sophie
    23 November 2013 - 17:42 GMT

    You can’t call it a student only venue and let people in that aren’t students, then repeatedly go on to say its a student only venue. People that aren’t students were let in therefore making your ‘student only’ rule irrelevant and your comments hypocritical, it was discrimination based on that.

  9. Faye
    23 November 2013 - 17:47 GMT

    If it’s a student only venue you should have to show a student ID to get in considering his other friends that weren’t students got into the place.

  10. Jane streeton
    23 November 2013 - 18:02 GMT

    After hearing about this last week I was discussed in the way these young lads were treated,the person in question is also a friend of mine on a night out away with friends did not deserved to be spoken to like this.just like to thank Anthony cotton for bringing this story to light

  11. Dodged a bullet
    23 November 2013 - 18:19 GMT

    He should be glad – going in Willow seems like a good idea at the time but it’s the biggest cess pit I’ve ever been in. Better off carrying on drinking at home or something.

  12. Yog
    23 November 2013 - 19:49 GMT

    It’s a student only venue only when the students are around.Tommy and his door policy are a joke. I’ve only ever been allowed in when I’m absolutely steaming and should lawfully be denied entry. I’ve been turned away because I’m not a student one week and then let in weeks later when someone drunkenly suggests it. I was even asked many times to help out with removing dickheads that were causing trouble, by Tommy himself, before the place got so popular and got proper door supervisors. It is a disgrace and it is discrimination to refuse entry simply based on their social or employment status. Simply stating it’s a “Student only” is the same as saying “whites only” or “LGBT only”. If they didn’t want the guy in they could use any excuse. Yes, it is Tommy’s right as manager to refuse entry to anyone but to actually discriminate against non-students could be detrimental to his business as a whole. Maybe he should look at having a Members only venue. How would all the students defending this feel if they returned to their home towns and went out only to be refused entry to a venue all their mates were allowed in simply because the manager had a “No Students” policy?
    The only reason The Willow tries to be a “Student Only” Venue is because students really don’t cause much trouble. They drink too much, vomit, have hideous amounts of unprotected sex but, will basically shut up and leave if they go too far, without much trouble if you say you’re going to bar them from your venue.

  13. Roy Cropper
    24 November 2013 - 19:17 GMT

    I saw Shaun get refused from the Rovers the other night, always causing mischief

  14. anon
    25 November 2013 - 16:10 GMT

    jesus christ, why don’t they just let everyone in. bit annoying if you’ve got friends up. not that i would take them to the disgusting shithole that is willow (dire music, too)

  15. Student Soldier
    25 November 2013 - 18:41 GMT

    Just to clarify, being part of the Army and being a student aren’t mutually exclusive… I know of at least ten members of the armed forces who are either undergrads/post-grads at York, and all frequent Willow on a regular basis.

  16. More importantly...
    04 December 2013 - 18:07 GMT

    why is a 38 year old trying to get into a student night so badly?

Comments are closed.