Former Formula One CEO Bernie Eccleston has doubled down on ugly and unpopular comments from earlier this week where he said, “In lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are”.
The comments drew widespread condemnation from the F1 world, with the organisation and six-time champion Lewis Hamilton taking aim at the comments.
Watch F1 Classic Races on KAYO including every race of the 2019 Championship. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
The F1 were quick to hit back at Ecclestone’s comments, calling for unity to “tackle racism and inequality,” and that the organisation “completely disagree” with the comments.
Speaking with CNN Sport, the 89-year-old Ecclestone said he hadn’t noticed it over the years, and was “surprised” to hear Lewis Hamilton had been affected by racism in the sport.
“I’m surprised that it concerns him,” Ecclestone said.
“I’m really unhappy if he took it seriously. I never thought he did. I didn’t think it affected him.”
Hamilton has been outspoken during the Black Lives Matter protests, and has been photographed protesting in Hyde Park.
After Ecclestone’s comments came to light, Hamilton hit back in his Instagram Stories, saying the comments made him understand why racism hasn’t been addressed during his career.
Hamilton has been targeted at F1 tracks in the past with the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix seeing fans in blackface taunt the young star over his rivalry with Fernando Alonso.
“So sad and disappointing to read these comments,” Hamilton wrote.
“Bernie is out of the sport and a different generations, but this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.
“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand. It starts at the top.
“Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all, to create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities. I will continue to use my voice to represent those that don‘t have one, and to speak for those who are under-represented to provide an opportunity to have a chance in our sport.”
Lewis Hamilton has been vocal in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.Source:AAP
But Ecclestrone has doubled down in a new interview with the Mail on Sunday, insisting he’s not a racist and labelling protests as being “suddenly fashionable to talk about diversity”.
“I am not anti black people. Quite the opposite. I have always been very much in favour,” Ecclestrone said.
“In fact, Lewis’s dad wanted to go into business with me. He made some nice rowing machines. I would never even have considered it if I had been anti-black. If the project had been right, I would have done it.
“Over the years, I have met a lot of white people I didn’t like, but never a black person I didn’t like.
“I’ve been mugged a couple of times, once by three black guys. I ended up in hospital, but even after that I was never against anyone who was black.
“I don’t think of Lewis as black or anything else. He’s just Lewis to me.
“If a black person or a white person gets turned down for a job you have to ask why. Was it because of their skin colour, or was it because they weren’t up to the job? That is what I was saying.
“And then people go on these marches, organised by quasi-Marxists who want to bring down the police, which would be a disaster for the country.
“If you asked most of them what exactly they were protesting about they probably wouldn’t know.”
Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is under fire.Source:AFP
Ecclestone then also compared skin colour to height, arguing, “It’s not my fault I am white, or that I am a little shorter than the next man.”
He also defended his record, having given Willy T. Ribbs a test drive in January 1986 when he owned Brabham-BMW, while adding he had employed other black people in the past.
“When I lost my driving licence, I had a black driver, not because he was black, but because I didn’t care whether he was black or white,” Ecclestone said.
“Now it’s suddenly fashionable to talk about diversity.”
Source: Read Full Article