John Lewis in gender-neutral row after telling customers to use whichever fitting room 'makes them feel most comfortable'

  • Jean Hatchet, from Sheffield, tweeted a reply from John Lewis over fitting rooms
  • The 53-year-old posted response with: 'Why do all these stores hate women?'  
  • Store said customers can use 'whichever fitting room' makes them 'comfortable' 

Feminist campaigner Jean Hatchet from Sheffield

Feminist campaigner Jean Hatchet from Sheffield

John Lewis has fuelled a gender-neutral row after telling customers they can use 'whichever fitting room makes them feel most comfortable'. 

Feminist campaigner Jean Hatchet, from Sheffield, asked the department store to clarify its position on gender-neutral changing rooms across its branches.  

The 53-year-old tweeted yesterday: 'Finally heard from John Lewis. They will let men in female changing rooms. That’s that. No debate. Why do all these stores hate women?' 

She told MailOnline: 'The phrase 'whichever changing room they feel comfortable with' puts women and girls at risk from predatory men.' 

Ms Hatchet tweeted a screenshot of the reply from John Lewis with: 'Dear @jlandpartners which changing room do you think a rapist of women would feel “most comfortable in”?  

Alongside the tweet, she posted the email response from the store which stated: 'As an inclusive business, our policy states that customers are welcome to use whichever fitting room makes them feel most comfortable. 

John Lewis stated: 'As an inclusive business, our policy states that customers are welcome to use whichever fitting room makes them feel most comfortable' (stock image)

John Lewis stated: 'As an inclusive business, our policy states that customers are welcome to use whichever fitting room makes them feel most comfortable' 

Jean Hatchet tweeted alongside the email from John Lewis detailing their fitting room policy

Jean Hatchet tweeted alongside the email from John Lewis detailing their fitting room policy 

The email received by Jean Hatchet from John Lewis

The email received by Jean Hatchet from John Lewis 

'As a co-owned business, we empower our partners to use their own judgement on how this policy should be applied on a case-by-case basis. 

'Regardless of specific policy, if any customer were to act inappropriately, the necessary action would be taken.' 

The response comes after Ms Hatchet filmed herself visiting the Sheffield John Lewis store on Sunday where she asked a staff member if she could go into the men's changing rooms. 

A manager at the store reportedly told Ms Hatchet men are not allowed in the women's changing rooms. 

Ms Hatchet asked the manager when the policy had changed, since a staff member in another department did not inform her of this.      

In a video in the John Lewis car park she said: 'Update: When we went downstairs they fetched a manager to us when we tried to go in the men's. 

'They said we could go in but then I queried the policy. 

'They fetched a manger who said: "No men in the women's changing rooms."

In a video in the Sheffield John Lewis car park Ms Hatchet said: 'Update: When we went downstairs they fetched a manager to us when we tried to go in the men's
She added: 'They fetched a manger who said: "No men in the women's changing rooms."

In a video in the Sheffield John Lewis car park Ms Hatchet said: 'Update: When we went downstairs they fetched a manager to us when we tried to go in the men's. She added: 'They fetched a manger who said: "No men in the women's changing rooms."

'They just haven't told anyone yet so they are having meetings. 

Jean Hatchet outside the Sheffield John Lewis store on Sunday

Jean Hatchet outside the Sheffield John Lewis store on Sunday 

'And apparently no man, no matter what, will be allowed in their changing rooms. Let's see if they stick to it. Thanks John Lewis for protecting women.'  

She later tweeted: 'So which is true @jlandpartners...? Yes men can go in women’s changing rooms or no they can’t?'  

Twitter users were quick to condemn the gender-neutral stance taken by John Lewis and claimed they would 'boycott' the store. 

Gill from West Yorkshire commented: 'And what about the women and girls who’d like to use the changing room that makes them feel most comfortable? You know - the one without any males in it?'

A woman from Essex commented: 'Another shop I will be boycotting. I will also be closing my online account and returning my loyalty card.'  

It comes after Ms Hatchet complained earlier this month that a man had entered the women's cubicle area at an M&S store in Yorkshire during a teenage girl's bra fitting.

She tweeted: 'Cubicle or no cubicle. Curtain or no curtain. Open space changing or not.' 

A manager at the Sheffield John Lewis store reportedly told Ms Hatchet men are not allowed in the women's changing rooms

A manager at the Sheffield John Lewis store reportedly told Ms Hatchet men are not allowed in the women's changing rooms

Twitter users commented on the response by John Lewis and said the policy is 'excluding women'

Twitter users commented on the response by John Lewis and said the policy is 'excluding women' 

'Men should not have access to any of these female spaces alongside women. @marksandspencer please clarify your policy on female changing rooms.' 

An M&S spokesman said: 'All M&S fitting rooms have lockable cubicles designed to protect each customer's privacy.' 

A spokeswoman for John Lewis said the gender-neutral policy had been in place 'for a number of years' and is 'not a recent change'.  

She added: 'As an inclusive business, our customers are welcome to use whichever fitting room makes them feel the most comfortable.

'When developing any shop policy, we always consult with relevant stakeholders across the business and, where appropriate, outside of our business.

John Lewis said: 'Regardless of specific policy, if any customer were to act inappropriately, the necessary action would be taken' (file image)

John Lewis said: 'Regardless of specific policy, if any customer were to act inappropriately, the necessary action would be taken' (file image) 

'When it comes to putting policy into practice, as a co-owned business we ensure that all of our Partners understand their responsibilities and exercise their judgment appropriately. 

'Regardless of specific policy, if any customer were to act inappropriately, the necessary action would be taken.' 

John Lewis tells customers to use whichever fitting room 'makes them feel most comfortable'

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