A lawyer who specialises in discrimination cases has apologised after he made a joke about leaving his wife in the snow, and then went ballistic at the woman who questioned it.

Simon Robinson, an employment partner at Gunnercooke, offered up a collection of gags on LinkedIn as heavy snow struck the UK last week. One of his zingers was, "Since the snow came all the wife has done is look through the window. If it gets any worse, I’ll have to let her in".

Ruth Cornish, the founder of HR consultancy Amelore, commented on LinkedIn that she "didn't find the joke about the wife being outside in the snow that funny". Instead of taking a moment to appreciate that he was a partner specialising in gender discrimination in a public forum, Robinson replied "I don't care" and called her a "humourless troll". When she replied "Wow", he posted, "Bore off".



Cornish tweeted Robinson's response, stating that she did did not think his "level of aggression was appropriate or remotely professional". Cue headless chicken time. A spokesperson for Gunner Cooke replied on Twitter that Robinson's comments "do not represent our brand in any way". Gunner Cooke CEO Anna Beaumont dropped what she was doing and called Cornish to apologise. Robinson, presumably after the spanking of his life, posted on LinkedIn that he was "mortified" by his "wholly unprofessional" comments and said that he would be leaving social media.

 

Robinson, then and now.

Cornish told RollOnFriday that Beaumont's swift response was commendable, but that Robinson's behaviour was "shocking", particularly considering he was an employment lawyer. "He says he trains people on discrimination. Which aspect - how to do it?

"I've never been spoken to like that before", she said, explaining that her approach was, "If you see something, you should point it out. That's how you change the culture. We wouldn't stand for racism, or homophobia, and we shouldn't stand for sexism". In 2015 another lawyer, Alexander Carter-Silk, caused a ruckus on LinkedIn when he corresponded with barrister Charlotte Proudman.

In a statement Gunnercooke said, "Simon is well known for his humorous LinkedIn exchanges and his take on making a sometimes-dry subject interesting and informative. On this occasion he took the humour too far and has since publicly apologised – it took the online discussion into topics and references which were certainly not intended. Simon has apologised to Ruth directly and the matter is now fully resolved". 
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Comments

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Simon shouldn't have apologised. Simon clearly didn't mean a word of his apology. Simon hasn't done anything wrong.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

I laughed the first time I heard this joke (hint, Simon - that wasn’t from you). I will hand my feminist certificate back.

But Simon’s reaction was stupid and unprofessional, and to do it on LinkedIn was moronic. I am not surprised he’s had his social media toys taken away. And as for going after an HR director when you’re an employment lawyer? What a bell-end.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Honestly - if she didn't find funny so what - why did she have to tell everyone about it. No one cares what Ruth Cornish thinks save for Ruth Cornish.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Agree the joke is amusing. It’s his aggressive response to the implication he’s Jim Davidson that is loony. Why didn’t he just say “You’re right it’s not funny, she died of exposure.” Actually maybe not that.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

That apology - gosh where do you start. So his feelings are hurt and that is all that counts? He was the one that started it.

The humourless troll comment was his mistake and good thing of the HR lady to say she did not find the joke about the wife in the snow funny. She has freedom of speech as much as he does.

The problem here is not the joke but how he responded - into insults.

What he should have done is say - sorry and just left it at that.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

This is unbelievable...
1. People are not allowed to make jokes anymore at the risk of offending anyone - really ? I am female and the joke about snow does not offend me or mean that Simon is a sexist in any way!
2. I actually liked Simon's refreshingly direct response, if she doesn't like him then don't follow him. Why does she feel the need to tell him off so publicly (was she really trying to change "culture"?) and then to share it all over social media and now it's in somehow (?) ended up on ROF (despite it being removed ). What's the real agenda here? She is teamed up with another firm offering employment advice.
3. This has been blown completely out of all proportion and sharing this (again) does absolutely nothing to promote women professionally/ generally.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

How is this even news? Poor bloke. How can we achieve true diversity of personality and background if the moment anyone opens their mouth they are subjected to a barrage of "I'm offended!"? People must be allowed to express themselves without fear of recrimination.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

It’s a shame that people just don’t have a sense of humour anymore and get offended at the slightest thing, when did we as women become so blinking sensitive?! Simon’s updates have always been useful and human and that’s what makes them a good read especially when the subject matter is usually very dry! Totally blown out of all proportion.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

I'm a professional female and found this joke funny.

What is the world coming to when 2 people have a spat and then one feels the need to splash all over social media - or is it because of her HR role that she feels she can do this public witch hunt. How is this even news worthy??Ruth Cornish - dry your eyes and move on.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Carry On Cowboy:

"These streets ain't safe for a man to walk down. I have to send the wife out for the shopping."

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Am in shock that a female professional made such a fuss over this and overreacted in the way she did.
Simon was big enough to say he acted emotionally in his post - hats off to him and his firm in giving that apology
I don't think this lady even deserved that apology though

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Wow - Ruth Cornish - this is seriously embarrassing for us professional females. You didn't like it - so what? I agree - "Bore off"! He apologised and removed the post - what more do you want ??

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

This lady completely overreacted and made such a fuss. Why would anyone do this and why has she done to ROF?I think she should apologise to Simon.

Roll On Friday 09 Mar 18

I really rue what this world is coming to. It was a joke and a funny one at that.... If we can't make fun of one another without some humourless individual taking offence then I think I'll have my tongue removed now.....

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Bit of a fool to go with "the wife" rather than "my wife" as it's clear snowflake bait, but if he'd done that then there is nothing to apologise for. The reply was not aggressive. It was to the point. All these twats living in the "like", and "congrats" world probably operate businesses that make less money than they should because everyone's too busy caring about what people think and trying to look like Mr/Ms Nice rather than addressing problems head on.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

As a mother and Executive Director who considers themselves a feminist, I find it ironic in the week of International Women’s Day, that a joke which I giggled at, can result in such a storm. For me this shines more of a light on the darker corners of social media than it does on Mr Robinson’s perhaps overly robust retort, to what was for all intent and purposes clearly a trolling. There was no need for Mr Robinson to apologise and to remove his very enjoyable and informative Linked In account.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Jokes based on spousal abuse for laughs are obviously inappropriate, doubly so at the present time. That so many commentators are so limited that this is not obvious to them is a sad indictment. Especially sad to see so many women defending discrimination, but I guess every group has its Uncle Toms.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

"Jokes based on spousal abuse for laughs are obviously inappropriate". " sad to see so many women defending discrimination". This was never a joke about "abuse" and there has never been discrimination. What I find interesting is to see how the haggle of women respond with their, frankly, vindictive attacks on Simon Robinson. As a female I am embarrassed the "go get the man" campaign here. we need balance, it's all out of hand.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

What a shame if this storm in teacup ends up with Simon having to stop sending his HR updates. Humour is of course a matter of taste but it’s hard to see how offence could have been caused. My rule of thumb online and in life is if you don’t have anything positive to say keep it to yourself. I suspect Ruth will have more lessons to learn from this experience than Simon. Good on his employers for standing by their man. I will refrain from a cheap Tammy Wynette gag for fear of upsetting any Wynette sensitivities and subjecting myself to TammyTrols

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Attempting to be slightly balanced:
It's a joke. It's funny. She's had a sense of humour failure and has no need to respond in the first place.
His response is over the top, and a bit rude. He's clearly cross.
She then acts vindictively by tweeting the exchange - giving it far greater publicity - trying to get him into trouble, and presumably notifying ROF.
He's apologised.
I'm subscribing to his updates - they sound entertaining.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

By referencing this joke in the same sentence as racism and homophobia, Ruth is doing both issues a distinct disservice. This is nothing other and ego and vanity of her part.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Is the joke funny? Don't care. Someone doesn't find it funny? Tant pis. Abuse someone on a public forum...that's where it all goes wrong.

"You won't build a following by being a humourless troll"? Using a social media account publicly to insult someone probably won't do you many favours either, Simon.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Just downloaded a cache of his (now deleted) LinkedIn Profile - what a wacky character:

"All views are my own. No likey? No linkey! I do what you’d expect an employment lawyer to do. I provide a helpline, strategic advice, training sessions, advocacy and so on and so forth. I could write the standard verbose wording here about how good I am and how different I am from the typical “suit” but it would bore me to write it and it would bore you to read it. Besides, I don’t need to big myself up because my client recommendations tell you all you need to know. If you like the sound of me, instruct me. If you don’t, don’t. No hard feelings."

Those words may come back to haunt you...

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

He’s a lawyer FFS and an employment one at that, and should know better than to respond in that way to someone on a public forum. Idiot.

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

It's a variant on Boothby Graffoe's famous joke:
My kids were running around the house in their pajamas shouting "it's snowing, it's snowing!", and eventually I said "yes, OK, OK, it's snowing, so what?" "So let us in".

Anonymous 09 Mar 18

Look, I think most of us agree that the most painful thing here is his apology - it is so over the top, and insincere. The world would be so much better if we celebrated people saying what they think, not pretending they think something "acceptable".

I didn't find the joke funny, by the way, but not offensive. Can people (of both sexes) please stop trying to protect women from things that might make them sad?? We are competent capable human beings who can cope with a little rudeness - at least most of us are

Anonymous 10 Mar 18

Personally I am sicjened any time women fly the "I'm offended" flag..... They set things back for everyone else.... You're offended? So what? As for never having been spoken to like that before? That is genuinely the worst you've ever had? Seriously? Did you crawl out of a commune yesterday? Please. Stop making the whole of your gender (and I dare say, profession) look week and humourless. Please stop promoting an outraged stereotype from within. Humour is humour. Let it go. More to the point.... Did the wife ever get let in? Anon (female)

Anonymous 10 Mar 18

Simon sounds like he doesn’t like being challenged. That bodes well for being a lawyer.

Anonymous 10 Mar 18

I'm a woman and I agree with a lot of the comments on here - the joke wasn't sexist, he acted impulsively with his comment but then promptly removed it and has apologised so what is the big deal? He might be a solicitor, but he's human.

What I do find interesting is the reaction of some of those that are against him. Seems odd that someone has gone to the unusual effort of finding Simon's deleted Linkedin profile and then copying and pasting it onto here with the sole purpose of trying to mock him. Seems a bit much for an impartial bystander to do after simply reading an article? And to those that have called him an idiot & bellend - pot, kettle, black? Except of course - you are anonymous. Very brave!

Anonymous 10 Mar 18

Hi Simon,
I found your joke quite amusing - ah well, not very one amused the same - c’est la vie!! xx

Anonymous 11 Mar 18

- The joke WAS rubbish.

- She IS a humourless bore.

- His reaction was a bit over the top.

- Why oh why must all this tedium be played out in public?

- O tempora o mores.

Anonymous 11 Mar 18

If Cornish wants to stand against sexism she needs to learn to recognise it, and this wasn't it.

If the joke had referred to a same sex partner it would have worked just as well. Gender was irrelevant. This is a very poor advertisement for the intellectual firepower behind 'Amelore'.

Anonymous 11 Mar 18

FFS People. It’s not the joke that the issue, it’s the OTT and downright rude reply to someone on a public forum. Simon uses social media to sell himself, and all he’s done is show himself up as ill-mannered and belligerent.

Anonymous 11 Mar 18

I like the after picture, supposedly depicting "Robinson worn down by over exposure to harsh snowflakes".... couldn't have selected better myself! Great stuff.

Anonymous 12 Mar 18

It was vaguely funny, but inappropriate. Inappropriate because it depicted a world in which the man controlled where his wife was. She was his possession.
I'm old and I'm a female and I find myself more and more calling men out on this stuff. Not for me, but for the next generation, because we haven't moved as far as we should have done.
It isn't snowflakes, it's lip service.

He was a dick for posting the joke, and it shows more about what he views will raise a laugh than he knows.... he was more of a dick for then going after her in such an aggressive manner.
He is then a monumental phallic symbol for flagellating himself in his apology.

All this needed was for him to understand that women fight daily against stereotypes and unconscious bias, with the defences of workplaces often being lip service processes to keep women quiet..

Sorry if that sounds "humourless", I'm not.... but the "it's just a joke" has long since been unacceptable for racial comments.... easier if it's the same for gender comments.

Anonymous 12 Mar 18

Not heard of this Robinson chap or Gunnercooke before but they both sound ace. Definitely signing up to his blog and I know who I'll be calling next time I'm in a sticky situation with the remains. Top lad Robinson!

Anonymous 12 Mar 18

If he's not on linked in any more, I think he should be given a blog on Roll on Friday. I've followed him on linked in for years and will miss his updates.
#FreeTheEmploymentOne

Anonymous 12 Mar 18

I'm loving the idea that someone saying the joke isn't funny is PC gone mad.
Presumably his massively aggressive response is in those people's minds entirely appropriate...

Anonymous 14 Mar 18

ROF's ridiculously conservative comments section strikes again. It's funny how it's basically interchangeable with the Daily Mail equivalent.

Anonymous 15 Mar 18

Ah, yes "inappropriate". The term used by those who either don't have a coherent point to make or are incapable of articulating one. But they are bloody furious about something, have no doubt about that. Even if they're not sure why.

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