Watch as Edinburgh silent disco group dances round homeless man in 'disgusting' Grassmarket footage

The silent disco group can be seen dancing in a circle in the Grassmarket. Pic/video: Angus Duncan.
The silent disco group can be seen dancing in a circle in the Grassmarket. Pic/video: Angus Duncan.
Share this article
Have your say

The owner of an Edinburgh silent disco company has apologised after 'disgusting' video footage emerged showing his group dancing in a circle round a homeless man in the Grassmarket.

David Naylor, who owns tour group Guru Dudu, admitted the man wearing bright orange in the video is him and said he was "embarrassed" by what happened.

Grassmarket resident Angus Duncan, who filmed and posted the video on Twitter, described the behaviour as "disgusting" and said the homeless man told him at the time he was not impressed.

READ MORE: Claims Edinburgh’s silent disco groups turning visitors into ‘complete idiots’

Speaking to the Evening News on Tuesday night, Mr Naylor said: "It's remiss of me to have not noticed the man. In this instance I'm sorry but I also want to say we are very aware of this issue and do have a philosophy around how we interact around homeless people - it's about inclusiveness and not evasiveness."

Edinburgh Evening News' WhatsApp service: Join and get the latest news from the Capital and the Lothians direct to your mobile

He acknowledged the video "does not look good" and suggested he may not have noticed the man if there were other people in the area who may have initially obscured his view.

When asked why he did not move the group as he danced directly in front of the man, he said: "I'm focused on my audience and, in this instance, it's still a very early part of the tour and and I'm trying to get them engaged with each other and loosen their inhibitions."

Mr Naylor said he often takes tours to this part of the Grassmarket and will normally ask a homeless person if they want a shot of some headphones or to join in and, if they decline, he would typically move on.

The 52-year-old said there are usually one or two other people from his team supporting the silent disco group but in this case they also failed to notice.

The video, posted on Tuesday, has drawn lots of criticism from social media users.

Mr Duncan said the video was taken almost exactly a year ago to the day, at the end of last year's Edinburgh Fringe.

He told the Evening News that he "called out" the group at the time but said he was just ignored. He said everyone was just "incredulous" when he pointed out what they were doing wrong and stayed where they were for about a minute and a half.

Mr Duncan said: "It's disgusting. It's symptomatic of the problems in Edinburgh where anything and everything is acceptable if it brings in money to the detriment of anyone else.

"They had other places where they could dance but they decided to go round a vulnerable member of society and not one of them gave him a penny.

"I went to give the man some money and he was not impressed by what had happened."

Others on Twitter were equally angered by the footage, with Evelyn Love-Gajardo writing: "Despicable."

And @KMarxette wrote: "Spectacular callousness."

Mr Naylor said he and his team will address the behaviour displayed in the video at their next meeting.

He said that, prior to this year's Edinburgh Fringe, his team of five guides did some fundraising for homeless people in Edinburgh.

It's the fifth year that Guru Dudu has been running and Mr Naylor said he brought it over from Melbourne to Edinburgh in 2015.

He also said that, with silent discos becoming more popular, his team hope to develop a strategy to address more common complaints such as noise from singing and the blocking of pathways in the city centre.

He added "This is the first time I've had a complaint in relation to a homeless person."

Mr Naylor also highlighted the benefits of silent discos in helping members of the public gain more confidence.