National Trust director general Hilary McGrady has hit back at a Telegraph article that claimed volunteers were “told” to dress up for Pride.
The article, published on Monday (14 June), was headlined: “National Trust tells volunteers to wear rainbow face paint and glitter for Pride.”
In the story, the Telegraph said the heritage conservation charity had faced “backlash” for its “woke” policies, and was now requesting that all volunteers take part in its Pride celebrations.
The article reads: “It is understood that some volunteers are uncomfortable at the request and with having to work on the day.”
Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group of Conservative MPs, was quoted as saying: “The National Trust haven’t so much lost the plot as left the planet.
“They are neither speaking for the nation nor deserving of our trust given the ludicrous series of decisions that they have made in recent times.”
The so-called Common Sense Group made headlines for previously attacking the National Trust when it acknowledged the historical links between its properties and slavery, accusing the charity of being “coloured by cultural Marxist dogma” and rewriting history “to suit ‘snowflake’ preoccupations”.
However the charity’s director general soon hit back at the story, explaining that National Trust volunteers were welcome to celebrate Pride with rainbow attire if they wanted to, but that no demands had been made.
McGrady wrote on Twitter: “Telegraph deliberately misleading again – so sad they are intent on stoking anger and division when there is none.
“Our wonderful volunteers are entirely at liberty to celebrate Pride if they so wish or not. #BeKind.”
The Telegraph has since changed the word “tells” to “asks” in the headline of the article.
A National Trust spokesperson told the Telegraph that it had long celebrated Pride, and added: “It is entirely optional if staff, volunteers, visitors and supporters wish to join in these celebrations.
“We have issued a guide to Pride to properties to give them some background about the month, and offer some ideas about how they might get involved.
“Some properties are using this to plan their own celebrations.”