Claim: A couple was kicked off a bus after singing a nursery rhyme to their daughter that offended Muslim passengers.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]
did a couple get thrown of a bus for singing nursery rhymes that
offended a muslim lady?
Origins: On 26 September 2014, British newspaper the Daily Mail published an article about a couple who claimed to have been kicked off a bus after the Peppa Pig song they sang to soothe their autistic child offended a fellow passenger who was Muslim. The incident in question had occurred weeks earlier on
Nick Barnfield and Sarah Cleaves of Rotherham told the paper that a bus driver ejected the pair and their toddler after another passenger took offense to pig-like noises they made while singing the song:
The couple claimed the woman, who they say was wearing a hijab, took offence to the snorting sounds in the song and believed they were a reference to how pork is forbidden in Islam though this has not been confirmed.
She complained to the bus’s driver, who, it is claimed, then told the couple it would be ‘easier’ for them to get off two miles from their home.
‘We were really embarrassed, ashamed and upset and we hadn’t done anything wrong, just trying to make our little girl happy, but people were looking at us as if we had done something wrong.
‘It was humiliating,’ said Mr Barnfield.
Barnfield gave his side of the story when speaking with the newspaper and said:
A lady came up to us and quite aggressively started telling us we were irresponsible parents and that we were being racist singing the song.
She went up to the bus driver and told him we were being racist towards her and she wasn’t happy. The driver came up to me and said we had to get off the bus or the police would have to come.
He said: ‘just get off the bus – it’s not worth the hassle’. I was really shocked because we had done nothing wrong but he didn’t listen to us.
He just said: ‘Go now, otherwise you’ll hold up all the passengers and no one will be happy.’
I was more upset at the bus driver not taking in both sides — he just heard the word racism and kicked us off … I’m annoyed he didn’t listen to our side of the story or ask any questions.
Brandon Jones, head of external relations at the First bus group gave a different account of what happened between the female passenger and the couple on
The investigation is ongoing but we have viewed CCTV footage. It does show the customer leaving the bus at the location he describes and it does show a conversation between a lady customer on the bus and the driver, and the driver speaking to the customer.
We’re speaking with our driver and with the customer to clarify the circumstances in which they left the bus. At this point I’m not in a position to confirm that they were forced to leave.
It is clear they left the vehicle. The driver responded to a customer complaint on the service. There was a single complaint from a passenger, she was an Asian lady.
The driver told us he heard no reference to racism but we are investigating the incident and have not yet drawn a conclusion.
Police in South Yorkshire did not investigate the incident. While it appears the couple left the bus after a disagreement with a fellow passenger, it is not clear whether they were asked to leave by the driver or something else precipitated their exit.
Last updated: 3 October 2014
Smith, Jennifer. “Couple Singing Peppa Pig Tune to Toddler ‘Forced Off Bus After Complaints They Were Being Racist’ Because It Goes Against Muslim Pork Ban”
- Daily Mail. 27 September 2014.
Waugh, Rob. “Couple Thrown Off Bus, ‘Branded Racists’ for Singing Peppa Pig Theme to Baby.” Metro. 26 September 2014.