Iceland sacks supermarket director for calling the Welsh language ‘gibberish’

An Iceland supermarket chief has been sacked for ridiculing Wales and its native language.

In a string of damning tweets spanning seven years, Director of Corporate Affairs, Keith Hann, called Welsh “gibberish” which sounds “like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.

Mr Hann was fired with immediate affect on Tuesday as Iceland apologised and distanced themselves from his controversial comments which had led to calls of a customer boycott, Wales Online reports.

The chain was forced to finally take action after a now-deleted tweet by Mr Hann reportedly said: “inhabitants of the UK’s Celtic fringe loathe all visitors”, referring to people travelling to Wales.

Previous comments include one made In June 2019 when he said: “I’d like to say that I have never left England, but regular attendance at an office about 800 yards inside Wales sadly precludes this. Still, I take pride in never visiting Scotland despite having a home within sight of the border.”

He wrote on September 17 2014, that in Wales “the supermarket signage” was “incomprehensible” and kids were educated in a “dead language that sounds uncannily like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.

In another blog post, he regrets the fact that his house is not far from the Welsh border: “I regret to say that we are also only about two miles from Wales, thanks to the border lurching east from the natural boundary of the River Dee, and taking a bite out of England that can only have been designed for the convenience of manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles."

He also added that if he moved over the border that his son “would be having part of his education conducted in gibberish”.

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Pressure had been mounting on the supermarket giant to take action after Mr Hanns's comments prompted hoppers to say they would be boycotting the company.

One said on social media: “This is shocking, @IcelandFoods from your Director of Corporate Affairs @keithhann! Insulting Welsh language and Wales itself. I’ve always felt loyal to the company being a former employee but will be boycotting you along with friends and family. What next steps will you take?”

While another said: "Boycott Iceland foods, to say this about a welsh company makes me sick, but it is a disgrace and no we know it is not meant as a joke as he has a track record of anti-welsh utterances @IcelandFoods quite happy to come down and have a chat as HQ just up the road #indywales ".

Iceland has more than 1,000 shops across the UK, and is headquartered in Deeside, Wales.

A spokeswoman for Iceland said: “Iceland has taken action in light of recent comments made by its Director of Corporate Affairs, resulting in the dismissal of Mr Hann with immediate effect.

"We would like to reiterate that these comments in no way reflect the values or philosophy of our business. We are a proud Welsh company, with a long history of investment in communities across Wales, and apologise for any upset or offence caused.”

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