Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet fined $1 million for racist and homophobic comments against Lewis Hamilton



CNN

Three-time Formula 1 champion Nelson Pique He paid a fine of nearly one million dollars (five million riyals) as moral compensation for racist and homophobic comments targeting the Mercedes driver. Lewis Hamiltonsaid a court ruling published on Friday.

“The substitute judge of the Civil Court No. 20 of Brasilia has ordered former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Soto Mayor to pay R$5 million in compensation for collective moral damages, with funds to be allocated to promote racial equality and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community, for offenses committed against Current Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton,” the court statement said.

Use pique Racist slurs and homophobia in Brazil during a TV interview in November 2021 to describe seven-time champion Hamilton when dealing with a high-speed collision involving Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the Silverstone Grand Prix.

The clip went viral and sparked a negative reaction towards Pique, who later apologized for his remarks – a point the court’s statement also reinforced.

“The defendant argued in his defense that he did indeed give up on the way he treated the English driver, but that his behavior did not characterize racism or homophobia, and there was no need for him to speak out about hate speech or abuse of black residents or the court’s statement,” the court statement said.

He asserted that although inappropriate language had been used, there was no intention to harm Hamilton’s honor or the honor of anyone else. Thus, since it was not a case of hate speech, the duty of compensation will not be established.”

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However, the statement stressed that Pique’s actions “affect not only the individual rights of the victim, but the values ​​of the entire community, the black population and the LGBTQIA+ community in particular.”

Formula 1, Mercedes and the FIA, motorsport’s global governing body, all condemned Piquet at the time, and Piquet apologized for the racial slur and said his comments had no racist intent.

“What I said was ill-conceived, and I’m not defending it, but I will make it clear that the term used is widely and historically used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was not meant to offend,” Pique said in a statement to CNN last year. cat”.

He added that his statements were wrong in some media and social media reports.

“I will not use the word that I have been accused of in some translations,” Pique said.

“I strongly condemn any suggestion that this word has been used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of the color of his skin […] There is no place for discrimination in Formula 1 or in society and I am happy to make my thoughts clear in this regard.”

CNN has reached out to Hamilton representatives for comment.

Last year, Hamilton responded to Piquet’s comments in a series of posts on Twitter, writing “Vamos focar em mudar a Mentalidade” – Portuguese for “let’s focus on changing the mentality”.

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