Yes, according to the eccentric former Channel 4 racing pundit,
John McCririck now aged 73.
During a very public dispute with his former employer, Channel 4
and the production company IMG Media Limited, Mr McCririck lashed
out at his former bosses for refusing to include him in this
year's racing presenting team; he blames being dropped by the
broadcaster on the grounds of his age. However, Channel 4 has
indicated that his displays of extreme behaviour and obvious sexism
(both on and off the camera) have caused nothing but embarrassment
to viewers and that his age has absolutely no bearing on its
decision to axe him from the show.
Only last week, the Central London Employment Tribunal heard
allegations by Mr McCririck that the decision to remove him from
the show was an opportunity for Channel 4 to 'freshen up'
its appeal and, in his opinion, this meant "kicking out the
older people". On giving evidence, he denied being anti-women
and stated that any "apparent sexism [during the show] was
simply part of the pantomime role that he had been encouraged to
He also alleged that had he ever been warned by Channel 4 or IMG
to tone down his act then he would have readily agreed.
To the contrary, Channel 4 and IMG strongly deny the allegations
and in their defence have argued that it was Mr McCririck's own
bigotry and sexism that led to his downfall. In particular, they
claim that the flamboyant gestures and cornucopia of facial
expressions were nothing but "unappealing and irritating"
to the viewers. Channel 4 argues that he was seen by the public as
more a comic act rather than a serious racing journalist and this
image was no longer the image that the production company wanted to
After hearing considerable witness evidence both on behalf of Mr
McCririck and from senior executives of Channel 4 and IMG, the
Tribunal has retired to consider its verdict. Deliberations have
been in place all this week with a decision due over the next
We suspect that many other seventysomethings in the public glare
will be waiting for this decision with the utmost interest. Mr
McCirick is not just on a personal crusade to claim £3
million in damages, he is also intent on highlighting the
"distressing symbol of the perils that lie in wait for even
the sharpest media operator once he, or she, has reached
It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, this decision
with have for Channel Islands employers. Presently, neither island
has any age discrimination laws so technically there's no law
preventing a Guernsey or Jersey employer from performing an act of
ageism. However, we would encourage employers to think twice before
terminating someone's employment on the grounds of their age.
Remember, Channel Islands employees have the fundamental right not
to be unfairly dismissed and age is not a fair reason to terminate
employment. Therefore, a lack of discriminatory legislation is not
an excuse to replace your older staff with more "younger
Don't forget to ear mark next month's edition of our
newsletter when we shall hopefully be in a position to report on
the judgment. Although I'm not the gambling type, if I was a
racing pundit, my money would be on John McCririck to win!
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