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It would have been impossible to provide an interpreter for Little Mix's support, says LHG Live, as Sally Reynolds pushes ahead with legal action
By Jon Chapple on 24 Jan 2018
In a legal battle that will be watched closely by concert promoters across the UK, a deaf woman is suing Newark on Trent-based LHG Live because no sign-language interpreter was provided for the support acts at a Little Mix show last July.
Responding to a high court injunction, LHG Live provided Sally Reynolds and two friends, also deaf, with a British sign language (BSL) interpreter for the concert, held at the South of England Event Centre in Ardingly, Sussex, on 1 September. The show featured support from Ella Eyre and the Germein Sisters.
Reynolds tells the BBC that while she felt she and her daughter, who is able to hear, “were really part of the Little Mix experience”, because the show was “so good” she realised afterwards that “we had missed out on the first two acts”, who were not signed, “so it was very much a disparity of experience compared with everyone else.”
Using a not-very-good metaphor that rather ignores the fact Little Mix (pictured) were the show’s headliners, she adds: “We only got access to the last act. If you went to a film can you imagine only getting access to the last 20 minutes?”
LHG Live says it would have been impossible to provide an interpreter for the support acts, as they were only announced 10 days before the Little Mix show
Reynolds is now issuing legal proceedings “for the failure to make reasonable adjustments, in the form of supplying an interpreter, for the whole concert”, reports the BBC.
It is a requirement under the Equality Act 2010 for companies to ensure disabled people’s experiences are as close as possible to those without disabilities.
Reynolds’s solicitor, Chris Fry, comments: “It is important that venues and promoters recognise that the legal duties to make reasonable adjustments extend to them.”
However, responding to the BBC report, LHG Live says it would have been impossible to provide an interpreter for the support acts, being that they were only announced 10 days before the Little Mix show – far short of the minimum time it would take for an interpreter to learn the lyrics (four to six weeks).
“It is important that venues and promoters recognise that the legal duties to make reasonable adjustments extend to them”
In addition to the interpreter, the promoter supplied Reynolds’s party with a full schedule in advance, including running order; upgraded their tickets to golden circle; provided access to private toilet facilities; and ensured all public announcements were made solely on giant screens either side of the main stage, to “ensure 100% accessibility”.
A meeting between LHG Live and the British Deaf Association and music industry charity Attitude is Everything, “to look at potential solutions and ensure the correct accessibility longer term at music events”, was scheduled almost immediately after the show, on 4 September. It is due to take place in February 2018.
A spokesperson for Little Mix says the band “strongly believe their concerts should be completely inclusive for all. The band welcome all fans to their shows, including those with hearing impairment, and encourage the promoters they work with to make provisions to ensure their fans can enjoy the concert experience.”
Attitude is Everything, meanwhile, says it “welcomes” Little Mix’s statement but is unable to comment further on the case.
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