Former British Council worker claims discrimination after being sacked for branding Prince George 'white privilege'

'I have also been very clear that none of the comments I made were abusive or used any kind of foul language,' says former employee

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 10 July 2017 15:52
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Ms Gibbins says she had been subject to a number of threats on Twitter and has been unable to find new work
Ms Gibbins says she had been subject to a number of threats on Twitter and has been unable to find new work

A British Council manager who was fired for branding Prince George a “symbol of white privilege” has claimed her former employer discriminated against her.

Angela Gibbins, former head of global estates at the organisation which promotes British culture overseas, lost her job after The Sun leaked comments she made about the now three-year-old heir to the throne.

The remarks were posted beneath an image of the young prince, who is son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, shared by band The Dub Pistols which labelled the third in line to the throne a “f****** d***head”.

The meme sparked an online row, prompting Ms Gibbins to write to friends on social media last year: “White privilege. That cheeky grin is the (already locked-in) innate knowledge that he’s Royal, rich, advantaged and will never know any difficulties or hardships in life. Let’s find photos of three-year-old Syrian refugee children and see if they look alike, eh?”

The 53-year-old later added: "I'm sound in my socialist, atheist and republican opinions. I don't believe the royal family have any place in a modern democracy, least of all when they live on public money. That's privilege and it needs to end."

Despite sending an apology to Kensington Palace, Ms Gibbins was suspended from her role the day after her apology and then fired from her £80,000-a-year job a month later for gross misconduct.

She claims that it was “overwhelmingly clear” that a decision had been made to “hang the claimant out to dry” before any proper investigation occurred.

According to The Times, Ms Gibbins is now seeking compensation, damages and a new position with the organisation or a return to her former position.

(Twitter

In a witness statement, read out at a Central London employment tribunal, Ms Gibbins, from Walthamstow, north London, said she had been sacked because of her Republican beliefs despite her opinions being widely accepted by colleagues and management.

“I had always been open and honest about these if asked. I can remember being variously bated as ‘the red under the bed’ or ‘the quiet Corbynista’ in meetings with senior colleagues, many of whom often made disparaging jokes about my left-wing views,” Ms Gibbins’ statement read.

“I have also been very clear that none of the comments I made were abusive or used any kind of foul language.

“We were actually talking about how all children should have the same rights, no privileges, no matter what their background.”

But Rebecca Walton, the British Council’s EU regional director, told the hearing: “I believe there is a recklessness that comes into play when you choose to comment under a picture of a three-year-old child about that three-year-old child.”

The British Council’s patron is the Queen and its vice-patron the Prince of Wales.

Ms Gibbins said she had been subject to a number of threats on Twitter and had been unable to find new work.

The hearing is currently ongoing.

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