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Piquet fined for Hamilton slurs

NEWS STORY
25/03/2023

Three-time world champion, Nelson Piquet has been fined almost $1m for racist and homophobic comments made in relation to Lewis Hamilton.

Judge Pedro Matos de Arrudo fined the Brazilian, who won his titles with Brabham and Williams, in a case brought about by four human rights groups including Brazil's National LGBT+ Alliance.

In 2021, Piquet used a racially offensive term while referring to the seven-time world champion in an interview relating to the clash with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

In a subsequent interview he used racist and homophobic language while referring to Hamilton's 2016 championship battle with Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg.

Insisting that he never meant to offend, Piquet claimed the expression he used was one that "has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for 'guy' or 'person' and was never intended to offend".

The Brazilian had previously apologised for his "ill-thought-out" comments, which were described by Hamilton as coming from those with "archaic mind-sets".

The judge said the amount of compensation was given "in the sense that one should not only appreciate the reparative function of civil liability but also (and perhaps mainly) the punitive function so that, as a society, we can someday be free from the pernicious acts that are racism and homophobia".

Piquet, whose daughter Kelly is Verstappen's partner, was fined five million Brazilian Reals ($953,000 / 780,000), though those who brought about the case were seeking twice that amount.

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1. Posted by kenji, 29/03/2023 3:01

"I would certainly hope that Piquet mounts an appeal against this ridiculous ruling by the Brazilian judge. Unless there is a legislated collection of adjectives that are banned from public usage how can this ruling stand? The actual term used has different interpretations by different Brazilian people. What this ruling says is that if anyone uses this term, irrespective of context, expect a 7 figure bill in the post!!Sheer madness. What next...public book burning? I'm sure Stanford University would be the first to comply...."

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2. Posted by elsiebc, 28/03/2023 21:10

"The penalty for using "bad language" or "wrong speak" is for society to decide, not the courts."

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3. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 28/03/2023 19:41

"@Editor - I've come across the same sort of thing in parts of Wales. But as you know, enmity between white nationalities is usually historically-rooted and occurs on a small scale. In contrast, prejudice based on ethnicity or skin color involves power dynamics and tends to have an impact on whole communities. There tends not to be much of a disparity between the Scots and us Sassenachs, when it comes to power and privilege."

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4. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 28/03/2023 19:32

"@kenji @alvarezh3 - Discriminatory speech can cause real harm, especially when it is used to target and discriminate against individuals or groups based on their characteristics, such as race. Whilst people may certainly have different sensitivities to certain words, language undoubtedly has the power to hurt. It's not "woke" to take responsibility for our use of language and promote inclusivity, respect, and empathy for others.

Yes, Kenji, I am very familiar with that saying, but it is not entirely true. Words do have the power to hurt, offend, and traumatise individuals. While it is true that people may have different sensitivities and reactions to certain words or phrases, it does not mean that those words or phrases are acceptable.

The saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is often used to dismiss the harm caused by discriminatory language. This saying trivialises the experiences of those who have been targeted by discriminatory language or hate speech, and implies that harm caused by language is not significant or valid.

Racial slurs and racist language can and do have a significant impact on individuals and communities, leading to emotional distress, psychological harm, and perpetuating systemic oppression and discrimination. Such language is part of an "othering" that, if normalised, can lead us down a very dark path."

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5. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 28/03/2023 14:58

"A fine of that amount is an abuse of power and I think will be overturned in the courts."

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6. Posted by kenji, 28/03/2023 14:18

"@Ed. Interesting comments. As I have previously mentioned I spent a couple of years in the British Merchant Navy and over time I have sailed with engineers from both Scotland/Ireland and England. There was always much banter between them but it was not always friendly. A lot of the time it was associated with ballsport but there was a definite edge in there!. I wore the the constant ribbing re our convict forebears but it was always a bit of fun. Despite all this I did find the Scots a bit boorish and difficult to fathom...maybe due to the fact that I found it hard to understand their speech LOL. Could always get a rise when I suggested that they speak English. "

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7. Posted by Editor, 28/03/2023 13:06

"I ordered a pint of the aptly named Smiles bitter and continued to live in Leith for the next eight years.

I used the pubs I wanted to and in time had most of the locals eating out of my hand.

That said, until I had moved to Scotland I had had never been aware of the anti-English sentiment, for there was no such resentment of the Scotch I had encountered in London.

By the time I returned to London I had strong feelings about the Scotch, and time hasn't softened them."

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8. Posted by kenji, 28/03/2023 12:27

"@Ed. Good one. What I really want to know is what was your response ?
"

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9. Posted by Editor, 28/03/2023 8:18

"I was refused service in a pub, ironically called Burlington Bertie's, in Edinburgh because I was English.

My partner (who was Scottish) and I subsequently bought a flat in Leith, which borders Edinburgh.

On the day we moved in we went for a drink. I asked the barman what local pubs he recommended. "With your accent (London/English) none of them," he replied."

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10. Posted by kenji, 28/03/2023 7:44

"@ Alvarezh3 very well put. I've been called 'honky' and 'whitey' in LA on a few occasions, nothing serious but so what, who cares. It never fussed me one bit. The fact is that these days everyone is a victim. Sixty years ago I and an American pal were asked to leave a bar in Copa/Rio DJ as whites weren't welcome! So we went next door. Roll on Albert Park......"

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11. Posted by alvarezh3, 28/03/2023 7:12

"@ Kenji

In different countries, the same word may be a big insult while in another it doesn't.

To call someone PENDEJO (coward) in Puerto Rico is a BIG insult. In my country, we call each other PENDEJO all the time and depending on the context it is used, it could even mean that you are trying to be a "wise guy" in a humorous sense. It can also be used to describe someone that is a coward, but being a coward is not necessarily an insult. You can tell someone: Don't be a " PENDEJO" (dumb or foolish) and go get your money back. Anyhow, I would not use that word in Puerto Rico in any sense.

Apparently the word or phrase Piquet used is in common use in Brazil, and depending on what context it is used, it could be insulting or not. He is claiming he did not use the word/phrase in a demeaning sense, the judge didn't buy his argument.

Anyway, for a judge (anywhere in he world) to fine anyone almost US$1,000,000.00 for insulting someone is as much an abuse, as the insult itself !"

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12. Posted by kenji, 28/03/2023 5:26

"@ Ricardo_sanchez....When I was a boy [ a very very long time ago, ] I was taught a little meme. It went like this,

"Sticks and stones,
will break my bones,
but words will never hurt me"

Now I'm not advocating an all out verbal assault but certain things mean different things to different people. Each to his own. "

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13. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 27/03/2023 21:38

"The article above states that Piquet racist language. No qualification. No “allegedly”. Is the writer mistaken? The reason I ask is because the majority of comments posted here are decrying “wokeness”, citing freedom of speech and talking of people choosing to be offended. Surely, those people are not suggesting that the use of racial slurs is just one of those things that society should shrug off? Are those that are racially abused to be blamed for the actions of their abusers? Worryingly, that seems to be the subtext. "

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14. Posted by Apexing, 27/03/2023 18:17

"Just curious, who actually gets to keep the fine, assuming he actually pays it?"

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15. Posted by Grumpy Grandad, 27/03/2023 8:35

"Offence can only be taken, not given. If someone chooses to be offended that's their choice and theirs alone.

The people who choose to be offended on someone else's behalf are taking that choice away from the supposedly offended person thereby restricting their rights."

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