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Is Richard Scudamore allowed private opinions? Apparently not.

21 May 2014

There is, you know, quite a bit to be said for having a personal email account for getting stuff off your chest, such as comparing a former girlfriend to a double-decker (don’t ask) and talking about big-titted broads. Any work inbox that your secretary automatically is privy to is, well, not quite the same as one that’s all yours. I’ve taken soundings on this sensitive subject from a friend of mine who is a really good PA, mixes with the mighty and all the rest of it, and she tells me that it’s actually difficult to do the job from her point of view if you don’t have access to the boss’s messages; you need to know what’s going on to keep on top of things. And I suppose it’s a bit tricky if you’re the boss and in touch with an old friend, to switch back and forth between personal and work email accounts, one for business, the other for rudery.

What I’m trying to say is that Richard Scudamore, head of the Premier League, who has been fighting to keep his job since his secretary made his problematic emails public,  should probably have had an eye to the fact that she would be reading his messages when he sent them – so should have kept them clean – but, all the same, he’s entitled to have private correspondence and, come to that, bad thoughts.  As my PA friend remarks, absolute and total discretion is part of the job at that level. So I am not all that inclined to take sides with Rani Abraham – Richard Scudamore’s PA, who exposed his off-colour emails to the world and has written in The Guardian today to justify herself.

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“I couldn’t face him,” she said. “He felt comfortable sending those messages, which included vulgar and sexist conversations about female colleagues, and he didn’t censor his language, even though he knew I’d see them.”

She didn’t do anything at the time – she was on a contract – so it was only when she’d moved elsewhere that she felt emboldened to vent her spleen. “My mother,” she says, “always taught me to speak up for what I believe in. I knew that I had to expose what I had discovered.” All very admirable, except that there’s another imperative here, is there not? Viz, to respect your employer’s privacy rather than squirrelling away his correspondence to discredit him later. You could, you know, always move jobs, as she indeed did.

What worries me a bit about all this is that what Mr Scudamore is being taken to task for is not just insensitivity in exposing a young woman working for him to dirty messages, though ones not addressed to her, but the bad attitude underlying the emails. And I’d say myself that he’s entitled to have bad, coarse thoughts, so long as they don’t come out in his work. Yet the PM has felt free to indicate that he would have sacked him if he’d been in the Cabinet.

Aren’t we entitled to private opinions anymore? Isn’t it enough to require people in public positions to behave well in the job rather than imposing some sort of audit of their personal views? What Mr Scudamore says to his friends in what he fondly thought to be the written equivalent of a phone call shouldn’t be our business or the Premier League’s; his actual work, promoting women’s football or whatever, is. Otherwise we’ll be imposing some sort of moral scrutiny on the uprightness of people’s views before they’re even appointed to a public role – and unless the role is that of a bishop, we’ve got no business to. Miss Abraham says she would “like to sue Scudamore and the Premier League for the distress they’ve caused me”; if so, perhaps she should make clear right now that she has no desire to make money from the episode. People might, you know, think that this was what got her going in the first place.

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Show comments
  • Jb9011

    In my experience the people who complain about political correctness etc are the biggest louts and bigots going. I myself don’t have a problem with it as i don’t find it restricts me in any way Also,the good people I know who are mannerly and respectful to others don’t have a problem.
    It only seems to be the bigotted louts who like to stereotype and deride minorities that have an issue with PC.
    Scudamore and Clarkson are not sorry for for what they said. They are only sorry they got caught.
    This is the reality.
    Good people don’t say these things publicly or privately.

  • Picquet

    All – all – means of communication are dangerous if you have a thought which doesn’t reflect the Consensus. Re-education beckons.

  • P_S_W

    There are privacy setting in most email packages so anyone with a bit of nous could easily have avoided this problem.

  • CharlietheChump

    Email is not a private means of communication. Beware.

  • LucieCabrol

    I really don’t know who this chap is, i don’t care about his grubby little opinions and it is irrelevant to the well being of the UK what he thinks…move on…ignore the Guardian, the BBC, and everyone else trying to make a big issue out of this….

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    So this is another story that sets modern notions and processes of data control against the rights and reality of the person?

    I would have thought any boss should have the sense to maintain a private life in private. After all, if we can’t keep work distinctly separated from our private life , there will be no end to work and/or stupid work related “issues”.

    One wonders; whose trying to force some “issue” here?

    • Makroon

      I replied to your post pointing out that the rumour in the football world, is that certain interests are out to get Scudamore because he had the temerity to dismiss out-of-hand, the chairman of the Football Association’s crackpot ideas on “reform of the English game”.
      I puzzled long and hard about why my post had been censored, and finally cracked it – the name of the chairman (and former DG of the BBC), is Greg D – the D which is also slang for a certain type of lady !
      Good old Fraser Nelson and his freedom of speech. (wink)

      • Wessex Man

        I had exactly the same comments taken down as well! I have tried above and at the moment it’s there.

        One of the problems with this strand is that people like Hooky who live in a tiny world, wouldn’t know the name of the Champions of the Premier League go along with the witch hunt of a good man because it polishes his ego!

        • Wessex Man

          No wait a minute it now has under consideration above it!

  • swatnan

    So its all right to consider women as ‘totty and a bit of skirt’ and carry on as though nothing has happened. Well it isn’t. Your private thoughts are your public face.
    Everyone from Dorian Grey to Jeffrey Archer should know that.

    • Tony_E

      It’s obviously also OK to remove data from a company server for the purpose of making it public at a later date, and then making personal as a result of that breach of data protection …..

    • global city

      The odd statement or derogatory remark does not betray your fundamental viewpoint.

      If that were the case then all those adverts calling men stupid, etc, would have led to jail sentences.

      Have you never uttered an un PC comment about anything at all, ever?

      As I wrote above, let those without sin cast the first stone!

      Do you know the meaning of that?

    • Wessex Man

      and John Prescott and the famous ex Home Secretary from Sheffield who was so famous I can’t remember his name now!

    • LucieCabrol

      get a life

  • Frank

    Quite simple, she should have complained to him when she saw the first message. If she had done that, then all credit to her since it was a work email. To store it up to launch after you have left the job is extremely dubious and arguably theft of intellectual property.
    You are however right, this male scum bag is entitled to his private opinions and it is so typical of David Cameron that he doesn’t understand that concept.

    • Andy

      She is a thief. She should be treated as such.

    • Tony_E

      Cameron was right in as much as if it were a cabinet minister, he would have to be sacked. You just cannot use that kind of language or be that unguarded in office.

      The boss of a private company does not have to have the same standards of personal conduct as a cabinet minister.

  • Colin56

    I think that the key thing is to be absolutely scrupulous about keeping private and professional correspondence completely separate from each other. The PA needs access to work emails; and work emails carry the imprimatur of the company, organisation etc from which they are sent. Thus Scudamore was very ill-advised, not to say somewhat stupid, to use that account to send those emails. That’s what private email accounts are for.

    Increasingly companies and employing organisations are claiming to ‘own’ everything an employee says or does during working hours and / or using work equipment – internet, email, mobiles etc. So the best thing is to keep work and play entirely apart, that way there can be no argument.

    I hold no brief for the content of the emails – I would just say that, on both sides, some people don’t know when to stop.

    • Colonel Mustard

      “Increasingly companies and employing organisations are claiming to ‘own’ everything an employee says or does during working hours and / or using work equipment – internet, email, mobiles etc.”

      And increasingly big government is claiming to ‘own’ everything a tax-slave says or does during non-working hours and/or using private equipment – internet, email, mobiles etc.

      • Colin56

        Of course – how could anyone think otherwise? Anyone living as a sentient being will know this. My apologies to the Colonel for my egregious omission.
        Just shows how carful one needs to be in expressing,opinions in a personal, private capacity. My points stands, I think.

        • Colonel Mustard

          My apologies too. I didn’t mean to imply any criticism of your original comment.

  • MirthaTidville

    Mind you he wasn`t wrong about women`s football,its utterly dire..

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s almost religious sanctimony on the BBC now though.

      “You will enjoy this. We all enjoy this. It proves we are good people.”

      Together with curling, zzzzzzzzzzzz. But they can’t or won’t show the Test Matches.

    • Fergus Pickering

      ALL football is utterly dire. It’s a game for the lower orders.

  • HookesLaw

    Not only is the article laughable but so are the comments.
    People are entitle to thoughts. But once they speak them and put them on paper they are taking responsibility for them.
    Just what Scudamore said in this context is irellevant – he made public an opinion. Now he has to be judged on that opinion.
    Since I have no idea what he said I cannot comment, but its plain yet again listening to the predictable kipper outcry that for them women are fair game.

    • Makroon

      Idiot comment.
      He did NOT “make them public”. They were stolen by his temp PA to make some money later. If Max Clifford was still ‘at large’, no doubt this grubby person would have gone running off to him.
      As a true “child of our times”, Cameron just couldn’t resist sticking his oar in – I wonder if it has ever occurred to him that most people aren’t interested in his opinion on the latest trivial tittle-tattle.
      I don’t think Scudamore is “fighting to keep his job”, the Premier League has been pretty clear. As usual, it’s only the BBC and the Guardian – self-appointed ‘tribunes of the people’, who won’t let this story die.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Of course he made them public. She saw them, didn’t she? That’s public.

    • Nkaplan

      So you are entitled to think what you like, so long as you don’t express your thoughts ‘publicly’ in private correspondence? How generous of you. One is, however, left wondering what precisely the point of this entitlement is….

      • Fergus Pickering

        I repeat again (God it’s so boring). This was not private correspondence. I suppose he’s too stupid to send an e mail himself.

    • Andy

      Cobblers. The bitch is guilty of theft and the Fascist rag The Guardian breach of copyright. He ought to sue.

    • Colonel Mustard

      God help us if you represent what the Tories have become.

      I thought Cameron’s wholly unnecessary intervention demonstrated what a very silly fellow he is. As if we didn’t already know.

    • LucieCabrol

      He didn’t make it public

    • Wessex Man

      You childish little soul, trying to bring UKip into an unrelated subject, don’t you have any life at all?

  • global city

    What this and similar incidents recently shows is how powerful the strident Marxists are… and how deeply they have gained their foothold in the corridors of power. The ‘punishments’ demanded for even the slightest breach of their controlled field of what is ‘acceptable’… ‘politically CORRECT’ are crushing.

    The long march through the institutions is almost complete. No doubt this demonisation of gobshoites for thought crimes will soon translate into actual show trials, al la the USSR or Albania.

    Is there going to be a fight back?

    Let they who are without ‘sin’ cast the first stone must be the response to those who shriek their condemnation and demand punishment. If they do not back off then their own outbursts should be examined for crassness and unacceptability.

  • RandomAnonymousName

    If you want to get at sexism, why not start with those vicious b–t–ds who monstered Tara Erraught. A real pack of hyenas.

  • Wessex Man

    For heavens sake in the previous comment everything I’ve said about the Football Association’s involvement in this is true and yet it another Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Spectator Blogs, which means that it will vanish within moments!

    • Makroon

      Friendly tip – you need to avoid sensitive key words.

      • Wessex Man

        Know that from past comments rejections, they seem to become more Victorian by the day, or is that East German Communist!

        • Darnell Jackson

          Looks like your cards marked

          • Wessex Man

            for the both of us for telling the truth, the FA have an agenda and it seems they are fireproof!

        • Makroon

          See my post to Mrs Josephine – you may have made the same mistake as me !

          • Wessex Man

            I did, like you I told the truth!

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Like Ne@therg@te :-)?

  • Paul W

    I don’t use emails to transmit “smutty” stuff – your choice, not mine but, I really must remember the offender’s name (complainant, that is) so to avoid employing her as a PA.

    I’ll bet that apart from “right on” liberal lefty types, her choice of employer in the real world is now very restricted.


    • Inverted Meniscus

      Good point. This idiot may have earned a couple of quid from the Grauniad and vented her sanctimony but any sensible person would run a mile from employing her.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Something of a record is being set. Women, who slightly outnumber men, must be the largest “minority” victimhood group so far created in the left’s ongoing cultural revolution.

  • sarah_13

    I couldn’t agree more. Without the ability to think freely, and occasionally to our friends articulate those thoughts, how are the likes of Scudamore supposed to evolve! Freedom of thought and expression are intimately related. But aside from this I wonder does this woman not have brothers, does she not realise that men, however nice and decent do occasionally send each other jokes which include women along with many other people. As the author of the above article mentions are we now to have our thoughts checked! I personally don’t like dirty jokes at all but I know plenty of people who do and it is none of my business if those jokes are exchanged between friends privately. I cannot imagine what distress has been caused to this woman by this when just walking down the street or going to the pub is likely to expose one to more distress. She should indeed be given short shrift as should the employment “case workers” who will have no doubt encouraged this claim along with the employment lawyers who will occasionally look at the files when someone won’t accept a settlement!

    • global city

      Crushing free thought is precisely what PC is all about… it has nothing to do with actually furthering any particular ’cause’

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Poor Rani must have been absolutely DEVASTATED to find only ‘sexist’ e-mails.

    What a sickener. pet, that you didn’t hit the jackpot.

    • Frank

      A good thing only western males are sexist.

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