The mooring of the yacht Miss Conduct was a fitting location for a protest against a landlord who shut down a popular queer space last year.
The Miss Conduct, berthed at Wapping Wharf, is home to Thomas Flight and his partner Harry Steeley. Flight is a landlord of several properties in Bristol, including the Hidden Corner Café on Portland Square, the owners of which he evicted last October.
Aaron Onuora and Sophia Khan ran the Hidden Corner Cafe in a unit they rented from Flight until arriving at work one day to find the doors chained shut and a notice of eviction on the window.
That eviction spurred days of protests by supporters of the cafe, which served as an important hub for Bristol’s black LGBTQ+ community.
Around two dozen protesters gathered outside the yacht on Monday, August 29, for what was billed as a “boat party” to raise awareness of the anger against Flight. The protest was promoted by some prominent LGBTQ+ groups.
Legal proceedings against Flight are ongoing, limiting what can be reported at the present time.
Speaking via a megaphone, one protesters said that Flight and Steeley are well-regarded in the queer community and seen as ‘cool guys.’
However, the protester continued, there are others who disagree and ‘see a completely different face’ to the pair.
Another protester said they had joined the protest to show solidarity with people for whom the Hidden Corner Cafe was an important space.
‘We need to do something about this,’ they said, ‘because people like Thomas Flight are taking what they want and they’re getting away with it because of the money they have and the influence they have.
‘I don’t understand how the power is so skewed in favour of the more advantaged people.’
A third protester turned his anger on the yacht itself, describing it as ‘gauche’ and ‘a giant bathtub.’
Referencing the helicopter on top of the yacht, which is understood to be fake, the protester said: ‘You can’t polish a turd but you can park a toy helicopter on top of it.’
The boat party protest lived up to its name. People danced under the late summer sun to classics such as ‘I Want to Break Free’ by Queen, and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Britney.