News Berwin Leighton Paisner DLA Piper Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom Technology, Media and Telecommunications UK DLA Piper investigates partner involved in Scudamore sexism row By Hannah Gannage-Stewart 16 May 2014 13:11 17 December 2015 13:31 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer nicholas ryan 16 May 2014 at 14:47 ‘The e-mails were private….’ Oh, so anyone can use whatever sexist or racist or otherwise inappropriate terminology they like, so long as it’s only said to their (presumably male, presumably white, presumably middle class, probably middle-aged) best mate. These people just don’t get it … they just, just don’t get it! P.S. of course, the reports suggest it was sexism only, on this occasion. Reply Link Anonymous 16 May 2014 at 20:11 Erm Nicholas, you’re jumping to lots of assumptions that aren’t borne out by the facts in your comment. Isn’t that a bit like someone who makes prejudice comments.. Reply Link Bill 17 May 2014 at 13:59 Nicholas. I get the gist of what you’re trying to say but you do realise how sexist and racist your post is dont you? Reply Link Anon 19 May 2014 at 10:52 Hi Nicholas. I know it is abhorrent to be male, white and middle-class, but I happen to take offence at being assumed to be a sexist, racist, prejudiced pig. If you could keep your thoughts to yourself, maybe we’d all be a bit happier. Thanks. Reply Link George Orwell 19 May 2014 at 10:54 This is starting to get a bit scary, is The Lawyer now the legal sector ‘thought police’? If people want to make daft and unpleasant jokes between them in a private email then why is this an issue? (I.e. that includes women making daft and unpleasant comments about men, other women etc to each other in private). If they’d directly spoken to/addressed a member of staff that way that would be different, but this was private. Is The Lawyer going to chase down every supposed ‘thought crime’ now? Reply Link Annie Onymus 19 May 2014 at 13:46 After Nicholas nobody else seems to get it. Can I try again? Mr Scudamore is in the public eye as an upstanding, role-model, enlightened kind of guy leading an upstanding etc organisation. His private emails indicate that he is in fact a sexist, prejudiced pig. Disconnect. He should walk. Reply Link Jen 19 May 2014 at 16:57 So far as I know, it isn’t against the law to be sexist – only to discriminate on grounds of sex in employment or provision of services, or to sexually harass someone. We still have freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to be sexist. Thinking that all public figures are tolerant equalitarian liberals is more than a little naive; the real problem here is not that West and Scudamore hold such views, but that they expressed them and then got caught. Using a work email to transmit (publish) such sentiments, though, is more than a little bit stupid, especially if you then plan to give access to a ‘temporary employee’. Someone who is that careless about data security probably shouldn’t be put in charge of anything more complex than a bucket and a shovel. As to sexism, really, what’s been reported is so blatant and puerile that I find it hard to do anything as energetic as get offended over it. The most I can muster is a rather contemptuous eye-roll. It should be subtitled “Even though we work in offices, mate, emasculated by technology, we’re Real Blokes and we are going to prove it with some Blokish Bonding Ritual, just to show that the Wimminfolk aren’t in charge even though greater size and strength [on average] doesn’t provide any advantage when dealing with spreadsheets. So we will have a sexist exchange just to show we’re Blokes, instead of going out to chop wood and wrestle alligators with our bare hands.” I find myself pitying men who feel they have to shore up their virility in such a way. The sexists you really have to worry about aren’t the insecure wannabe-blokes who sit in offices writing puerile emails to each other – they are obvious, pathetic, and easily squashed; it’s the ones who smile and speak reasonably who are dangerous. They’re the ones who are quietly fighting against equality while you are distracted by the antics of the Scudamores and Wests of the world. If you want to find real sexism in sport, don’t look to Scudamore. Look to whoever assigns the funding. They may not be sending silly emails, but they’re doing something far more damaging: by underfunding women’s sport, women are being excluded from participating in sport at every level from local to international. Oddly enough, nobody gets all incensed over that. Nobody thinks to ask “Where are the sportswomen who earn enough money to do it professionally, let alone earn salaries beyond the wildest dreams of most ordinary people?” or “Where are the sportswomen who are household names?” They just accept that professional sport is men’s business, and leave it at that. That’s real sexism, and it’s so successful that nobody even notices it. Reply Link Phil Clark 19 May 2014 at 17:15 @George Orwell Don’t be daft. The Lawyer is reporting on an investigation launched by a law firm. It’s an issue because private emails have been leaked, not because the publication is on a witch hunt for offendors. As a side note I think it’s naive (particularly of lawyers) to imagine that emails sent from a professional address are private in any case, especially when these are emails with a famous individual. Reply Link Jaysus 19 May 2014 at 19:59 Some people don’t have a sense of humour – it’s been replaced with a politically correct whine… Reply Link anon 20 May 2014 at 08:52 I do hope Annie Onymous never finds herself being secretly filmed laughing at an anti male joke at a Grumpy Old Women gig. That would make her career in the law quite untenable. Reply Link Anonymous 20 May 2014 at 09:49 George Orwell, you seem a bit paranoid. I assume that these exchanges were via work email and therefore cannot possibly be considered “private”, particularly if you give your PA access to your inbox so she can monitor your emails. If you want to exchange smutty emails with someone, do it in your own time and from your own personal email. It is not appropriate professional behaviour to engage in such exchanges in work time using work email and Mr Scudamore should have known better. Reply Link Anonymous 20 May 2014 at 15:51 What I find remarkable about this and similar stories is that anyone’s remotely surprised at the attitudes displayed. I’ve been practising for 30 years, during which time I’ve met every sort of person under the sun. The one certainty is that both men and women are inherently prejudiced, ageist, sexist, racist, you name it. It’s part of the tribal instinct – the natural affinity that one has with similar type of people and the natural hostility that one has to people who are significantly different. Such prejudices are nothing to be ashamed of, any more than one should be ashamed of having blue eyes or brown eyes – it’s part of our DNA. However, they obviously have potential to harm or upset others. The big difference that’s happened over the past two or three decades is the way we have been educated to see the harm and hurt that they can cause and to control the expression of these prejudices. Essentially, this is nothing more than consideration for others and what used to be called good manners – a sadly quaint-sounding term nowadays. This is a good thing, in that we are actually now made to confront our prejudices, whereas in the past they were thought to be quite `normal’. We have also learned the correct way of behaving to reflect this self-knowledge so as to avoid giving offence. However, to a depressingly large extent all that’s really happened is that the expression of prejudice has been driven underground. It’s a bit like samidzhat – people will still revert to caveman type provided they think they are in a `safe’ environment, surrounded by similar members of the tribe who are bound by a form of omerta. One only has to eavesdrop on any group of people in a pub, their inhibitions loosened by drink, to become aware of how strongly embedded these prejudices are. So in some ways it could be said that all that’s really happened is that many people have become much more polished hypocrites than they used to be. They can put on a very convincing performance of being liberal and unprejudiced but in all too many cases it’s just a disguise. And this is clearly what’s happened here. There’s almost no point in an apology, as it doesn’t alter the fundamental attitudes displayed by these two men, and it’s therefore only really an apology for having been found out. No doubt when discussing the matter between themselves they will be cursing the bloody feminists who have created this stink. And the saddest aspect of all this is that many of their male colleagues would thoroughly agree with them, whilst publicly mouthing the platitudinal PC cliches that we’re so used to hearing. `Tis a wicked world. 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