'So I called her dumb, blonde and decorative? That's not an insult,' he said as he defends his comments in court...
A hedge fund manager facing a £4m sexual discrimination claim has defended his comments in court saying: ‘So I called her dumb, blonde and decorative? That’s not an insult.’
Joking about dumb blondes, topless women and sex is a perfectly reasonable way to behave at work, wealthy financier Mark Lowe insisted. In his high-octane world of hedge-fund management, risqué comments and e-mails about women, lady-boys and sheep are just part of the wallpaper, he claimed.
‘None of the jokes were demeaning or provocative,’ he said yesterday as he defended himself against a £4m sexual discrimination claim by Jordan Wimmer, an executive he called a ‘dumb blonde’ and ‘decorative’.
A selection of the jokes he shared with colleagues at investment firm Nomos Capital was read out to the Central London Employment Tribunal, including one in which women were described as ‘hazardous material’ found in various grades ‘from virgin to common ore’ that ‘react well to gold and precious stones’.
Mr Lowe, who has built up a £100m fortune, said he was unable to understand how anyone might be offended by such e-mails. ‘I thought they were funny. They weren’t brilliantly funny, but they amused me,’ he said.
Ms Wimmer, however, thought otherwise and has taken Mr Lowe to the tribunal after claiming sex discrimination, unlawful deduction of wages, unfair constructive dismissal and disability discrimination. The hearing continues.