A tribunal yesterday prosecuting on behalf of a veteran broadcaster has found that his behaviour away from his main place of work was deemed suitably unacceptable to make him unemployable in his field of expertise.
A case was mounted to suggest that his antics were a “pantomime character” that bore no reflection on his professional persona and that he was a presenter of quality and integrity. Arguing that he had been wrongly pigeonholed by the public, his endeavours were said to be actively encouraged by the media execs that surrounded him.
The television stalwart, famous for his outlandish dress-sense, wild hair and gold jewellery was under investigation following revelations about the goings-on behind closed doors at two of the biggest production companies in the UK and was attempting to prosecute said organisations for discrimination. Both denied any wrong-doing. It has been stated by the prosecution that this is a “massive setback” for anyone in a similar position.
“After such a landmark judicial verdict, [the] failed legal action ensures that anonymous suits and skirts, who control the media, numerous other businesses and the public sector, will now enjoy complete freedom to [continue to encourage this sort of behaviour unchallenged].”
During the hearing it was claimed sexist and rude behaviour were a ‘pantomime’ role that had been actively encouraged by Channel 4. But the panel was told by witnesses from the station and IMG that he was ‘offensive’ and ‘disgusting’.
In closing submissions Thomas Linden QC, counsel for Channel 4, said the claimant had suggested it was possible he could switch from one ‘thoroughly obnoxious’ persona to another, more serious one. But he said it was not the case that bosses could say: ‘Please wear a grey suit, please don’t go for this extravagant manner and please don’t portray yourself as slightly mad because it’s impinging on your work”, and he would have complied.
“As a matter of reality it simply isn’t the case,” Mr Linden said.
“We see time and time again the possibility of the claimant being a serious character and failing woefully,” he added, giving an example of a Sunday Times interview where he had “gone on” about Kate Winslet’s [daughter’s] breasts and wanting to have sex with Dawn French[‘s kids].”
“Even without data, it’s a reasonable assumption, isn’t it, that the claimant’s profile, whether that is in his programmes or in broadcasting, was off-putting to many,’ he said.”
“A lot of viewers are right-thinking people who find this sort of behaviour obnoxious.”
Jennifer Eady QC for the prosecution, told the panel that he “was passionate”. “If there was one thing he loved doing it was this and he had done it for years.”
n.b. for the purposes of privacy and respect, Mail-Feasance has used generic imagery and removed the claimant’s name from this article.