JANUARY 6, 2009
Some bizarre claims
The British tabloid press is known for its desire to titillate its readership - as the F1 world has discovered in graphic terms in the course of the last year. The "red tops" have therefore been enjoying the goings-on of an employment tribunal in Southampton, England, which is deciding whether or not a former flight attendant on the McLaren executive jet, Peter Boland, was unfairly dismissed in 2007. Boland is claiming that he was fired because it was suspected that he was a homosexual. McLaren says that he was fired because he was rude and because he fell asleep while on duty. Boland has taken the opportunity to label team boss Ron Dennis homophobic and racist, although this does not really fit in with McLaren's well-established attitudes towards employing those of many different colours, creeds and sexual orientation. The best evidence to support the McLaren case is the World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Dennis's supposed racism relates to what Boland claims is a disaste for Arabs, although this also overlooks the fact that McLaren is 15% owned by Saudi Arabian-born Mansour Ojjeh (who has worked with Dennis for 28 years) and 30% by Bahrain's Mumtalakat holding company. McLaren employs at least one overt homosexual and in our experience Dennis seems to be get on perfectly well with the gentleman in question.
The flight attendant, who turned down a financial settlement of $11,000 from the team, is therefore leaving himself open to accusations that he is using the tribunal to get his own back - as clearly he is not going to get his job back. The danger of such actions is that future employers will look twice at someone who is willing to indulge in such behaviour.
One can only hope, therefore, that Boland is being well rewarded by the tabloids.