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mr T three

Only one of these gentlemen is the real Mr T.


Staff at a south coast firm have been prescribed extra diversity and inclusion training after a partner was found to have blacked up as Mr T.

Kevin Horn, a private client specialist at Warner Goodman, apologised “unreservedly” when it emerged he dressed up as B. A. Baracus, the milk-loving, plane-hating A-Team character, for a work event in 2016.

Horn was sufficiently unaware of the prevailing cultural headwinds that he got himself snapped as B. A., then posted the photo on his Facebook account and, a source told RollOnFriday, distributed it round the office.

Andy Munden, Managing Partner of Warner Goodman, told RollOnFriday, "Kevin Horn apologises unreservedly for his actions and deeply regrets any offence he may have caused".

"Kevin was attending an 80s themed fancy dress party in 2016 and he accepts his behaviour was an error of judgement." 

Munden said the incident "does not in any way reflect the culture of Warner Goodman LLP where diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our core values".

He said the firm would not take any disciplinary action, but there would be "an additional programme of diversity and inclusion education for each and every one of our staff members". 

Punishing everyone with extra D&I training because a partner blacked up in 2016 may sound like unjust overkill, but Warner Goodman said it would not be commenting further, so ROF was unable to seek a reprieve for the innocent.

"We have also self-reported the incident to the SRA", said Munden.

Blacking up is generally considered offensive in the West. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau apologised profusely in 2019 when it emerged that he had worn what he described as "racist" makeup to a costume party in 2001, when he was 29.

In 2020 comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams said sorry for having "played characters of different races" in their TV series Little Britain and Come Fly With Me. The latter show, which aired in 2011 but is no longer available, saw Lucas donning a fat suit to depict a lazy Jamaican coffee shop worker called Precious Little.

However, blackface continues to be regarded as uncontroversial in other parts of the world. When it emerged earlier this year that Stephenson Harwood's former Hong Kong Managing Partner blacked up as athlete Eliud Kipchoge for an office party in 2020, he told RollOnFriday, "Until recently, I was not aware of the stigma in the west with this". 

One insider indicated it would not matter if Horn's playful homage to Mr T was born of an innocent affection for the cultural icon, telling ROF, "I am disgusted".

ROF has asked Mr. T, who charges between $100,000-$200,000 for speaking engagements, if he wouldn’t mind running the firm's diversity training so that staff have sonething to look forward to.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 30 September 22 09:05

B. A. Baracas wasn't the star of the A Team; he was a character.  The star was Mr T.  

Apologies for the punctiliousness.  I just hate to see articles like this Peppard with mistakes.

Jamie Hamilton 30 September 22 09:09

I intended to mean BA (the character) was the star of the A-Team, but at the risk of infuriating Face fans, this has been amended.

Anonymous 30 September 22 09:19

I only took the point as a means to shoehorn the Peppard pun.  Really, I've just Benedict around.

Sensible 30 September 22 09:31

When did this happen? 2016.

And did anyone know about it at the time? Literally everyone.

And you didn’t do anything about it then? We didn’t see the need.

But now somebody has leaked it externally? Naturally we were appalled all along and thank the leaker for bringing this to light.

Name 30 September 22 09:42

Funny how the whole firm is given extra training to address the very personal mistake of one partner. Not really a very targeted or effective response is it?

Anonymous Anonymous 30 September 22 09:55

A legal expert out of touch of the real world. This firm will lose clients and business.

Anonymous 30 September 22 10:46

Having met Kevin professionally, he is a thoroughly decent lawyer and would no doubt be mortified if any offence was caused.

Anonymous 30 September 22 10:51

This is one of those cases that makes you realise how absurd the American habit of reacting hysterically to any form of costume in which a white person dresses as a black person is.

He's absolutely nailed the look. There's no intent to demean. There's no plausible way of imagining that anyone has been demeaned. It's a totally appropriate event to wear fancy dress to. No harm done.

But, and it's the only but, we have an irrational rule that you are never allowed to do this ever no matter the effect or intent, because oh didn't you know that actually several decades ago white people occasionally dressed as black ones to mock them and in particular in the American South and that was wrong. So we all have to act as though this matters somehow despite there being no plausible relationship between the two.

So everyone loses their mind over a harmless incident from 2016.

It's completely bizzare.

Mr T's massive gold chain 30 September 22 10:58

Exactly. Intent matters.

The guy was paying affectionate homage. You can tell he put a lot of effort into this just by comparing to the picture of BA.

I'm glad the firm isn't taking punitive action.

I'd suggest for an even healthier environment they think again about D&I training. imo it is a racket that often complicates relationships between people of different races.

Sensible 30 September 22 11:21

There are lots of situations in society where different groups have competing and sometimes mutually inconsistent rights and it can be really difficult to decide which of those rights prevail in the event of a conflict.

Weighing:

(i) the rights of white, middle aged men to express their appreciation for 80s TV; versus

(ii) the rights of black people not to have people mimic actions that have a long history of being used for explicitly racist purposes,

is not such a situation.

Anonymous 30 September 22 11:49

"mimic actions that have a long history of being used for explicitly racist purposes"

 

But what does that portentous word salad actually mean? 

He isn't 'mimicing' anything from history - he's dressed as Mr T at a fancy dress party.

It's not remotely like anything from the distant past. The two things have almost zero similarity, and aren't intended to, so how can one be 'mimicing' the other?

And what exactly is the "long history" that is being vaguely alluded to here? Oh, that's right, it's a long dead 'comic' tradition which principally took place in the deep south of another continent many decades ago (and which didn't actually endure for that long at all). Is that a history which is really relevant to a fancy dress party in the UK in 2016?

And, and, don't we have to stop and pause on the concept of "explicitly racist purposes" here? If we acknowledge that it was that fact which made the historical behaviour so wrong, don't we have to pay some attention to the fact that it is completely absent here? 

Does any of the offence taking, or attempted justifications for it, stand up to any real critical scrutiny? Or is this just people acting out mad Americanisms without thinking?

Hackaforte 30 September 22 13:36

Anonymous @ 11:49:

Blackface is rather closer in both time and space than you think: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Show

 

 

Anonymous 30 September 22 14:13

@Hackaforte - well yes, we're all aware of that example, because it's the only UK one that ever gets wheeled out.

 

Now, just sketch out the actual similarities between it and this gentleman in 2016's behaviour for me, would you?

Anonymous 30 September 22 17:23

"Blacking up is generally considered offensive in the West."

Depends on how you define "generally" and "the West".

 

Bored by race grifter complainers 02 October 22 23:07

"Kevin was attending an 80s themed fancy dress party in 2016 and he accepts his behaviour was an error of judgement." [...] Blacking up is generally considered offensive in the West. 

Why was it an error/offensive?

If we are to believe what the Left are telling us, any black actor can play any white character, and we have no right to criticise. Indeed, anyone can be anyone: if I want to put on a dress and declare myself a woman, I can have the right to watch teenage girls undress in female changing rooms. In that context, why shouldn't white actors 'black up'?

A skeptic might ask whether the criticism of 'blacking-up' is - and has only ever been - simple, petulant whinging by left-wingers, and life's perennial victims, the losers and failures who can't/won't pass exams, can't/won't resist crime, can't/won't secure decent jobs, can't/won't rear competitive children, and simply want to blame others for their inadequacies. But that can't be the case, surely?

casper the friendly 05 October 22 14:14

good thing for halloween i always dress up in my best ghost costume with pointy hat

Anonymous 06 October 22 13:23

Weighing:

(i) the rights of white, middle aged men to express their appreciation for 80s TV; versus

(ii) the rights of black people not to have people mimic actions that have a long history of being used for explicitly racist purposes,

is not such a situation.

Yes it is and the answer is that (i) is a fundamental human right (the right to free expression) whereas (ii)...is not a fundamental human right at all 

https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights

 

 

Smarticus 06 October 22 18:27

I went to see a play about two illiterate poor women in a Somerset village in the years before the Great War. One was played by a woman of Bengali descent and one by a woman of mixed race, mainly African. Was this disrepectful, or was it OK because of the poor, illiterate white women are privileged?

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