This morning, Alan Sugar – that is Lord Alan Sugar; that is member of the House of Lords Alan Sugar – tweeted a Photoshopped image of the Senegalese national football team alongside a shitty racist caption (he's since deleted it and apologised for "me earlier tweet", as well as retweeting a condemnation from the BBC Press Office, which both very much seem like things that he was told – by someone from the BBC with a very stern voice – that he had to do).
Maybe you were taken aback by this. Perhaps you thought Lord Sugar was one of the alright ones. He's on The Apprentice, always talking about stuff he’s "laid on" for the contestants! He hates Piers Morgan! Pens! And, well, yes, fine. But he's also got serious form for crap opinions: he's basically the poster boy for Old White Men of a Certain Age who go very, very red if you dare challenge their opinions; who know not to say negative things about feminism publicly, but in private groups make derogatory comments about women drivers.
Here are loads of other times he's absolutely fucked it (and almost certainly thought nothing of it):
2013: A racist tweet ft. a photo of a literal child
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Sugar’s been popping off questionable tweets for some time. Back in 2013, he was actually investigated by the police after tweeting a highly problematic caption on a picture of an… actual child (which, spectacularly, remains live on his account).
It's very lazy patter, yes, but I would also just like to take a moment to clock the bizarre sinisterness of his brain moving from "cute kids in watermelon costumes!" to "joke about exploited East Asian workers" that fast.
2015: Said he didn’t know the price of a pint of milk
Alan Sugar is a Working Class Hero, don't you know. He tugged himself up by his bootstraps, me old china, and he's earned what he's got! He's a self-made man who done honest work for honest pay! He sold computers dahn the mawr-ket! He knows business like the back of his hand! Anyway, yeah, bear that in mind while you dig into this quote he gave the Times in 2015 (it bears repeating that this person is a member of the House of Lords, a voting body with a huge material responsibility for many of the UK's most vulnerable people):
“Who are the poor these days? You’ve got some people up north and in places like that who are quite poor, but they all have mobile phones, being poor, and they’ve got microwave ovens, being poor, and they’ve got televisions, being poor. Compare that to 60 years ago. If you really want to know what poor is like, go and live where I lived in Hackney, where you didn’t have enough money for the electric, didn’t have a shilling for the meter.”
Quite good, isn’t it, how you can get so rich that you literally become ignorant of time passing? Do you think Alan Sugar wakes up every morning and believes social conditions to be exactly the same as they were 40 years ago? Does he think a microwave is the mark of the fabulously wealthy rather than the mark of someone who needs cooked sustenance to remain alive? It's fairly baffling that a business owner of his scope would view economics as something that stays totally fixed.
Another choice quote from that interview: "I don’t know the price of a loaf of bread. I don’t know the price of a pint of milk. I don’t know the price of a dozen eggs. A loaf of bread? No idea." He did, however, say that he was interested in the price of "planes and boats and things like that".
2017: "If women want to be paid more at work, they should just ask!"
He's bloody done it. He's cracked it! Years of the gender pay gap, and Alan Sugar has the answer. If only I had thought of this. I am stunned, to be honest with you. All I needed to do in order to be remunerated equally to men – despite the centuries of entrenched prejudice which have led to this situation – was ask! I can't believe it!
Last year, Lord Sugar told the Press Association that transparency over pay was "disgraceful", and that the pay gap "can be narrowed by the lady herself saying, 'No, I want more money. Right, you want me to do that, I want more money.'"
Really excited to give it a go!
2018: had to delete a tweet he posted picturing Jeremy Corbyn alongside Hitler
Not been a brilliant year for Sugar on Twitter, has 2018. Earlier this year he deleted a tweet that included a Photoshopped image of Jeremy Corbyn sat in a car with, erm, Adolf Hitler, after an appeal from the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. According to the Guardian, Sugar later commented, "It's a joke, but the angry brigade like to moan," which is a pretty good sign that after this morning's incident he absolutely spent ten minutes shouting at his wife about POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD, before forgetting about it entirely and learning absolutely no lessons.
Expect another faux pas in, ooh? About three months' time?