Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One chief and trash person, just said that North America—the entire continent— was a “shit hole” compared to the grand ex-Soviet backwater of Baku, Azerbaijan, where torture is a fact of political life.
I’m sure Azerbaijan is nice in some respects, with history, culture, and lovely people all its own. But when Ecclestone was interviewed by F1i.com, he was asked about the status of human rights in the notoriously repressive country.
“The minute people tell me what human rights are, you can look at how, why and when it applies. Does anyone know what human rights are?”
Activists met with Formula One Management (FOM) in London earlier this month, but Ecclestone added: “It is nothing I know about…
“We listen obviously and if people have got genuine complaints there is not a lot we can do because in all fairness. I don’t know, freedom of speech and things like that – I think you get into trouble in most countries if you are anti some government or political people. Or in fact anybody. So it is not quite as easy as that.”
Asked if the teams had commented at all, Ecclestone replied: “No.
“I think probably like me they would like to know what human rights are. A lot of people are starving in the world and they have something to complain about.”
“A lot of people are starving in the world,” yes, which is irrelevant to the situation in Azerbaijan. But if it helps Bernie, here’s a list of things that happened in Azerbaijan that definitely do not fall under the category of “human rights,” as listed by Amnesty International:
All mainstream media remained under government control; independent outlets faced harassment and closure. Independent journalists continued to face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence.
On 26 January, deputy chair of the IRFS Gunay Ismayilova was attacked by an unidentified man in the lobby of her apartment building in Baku. An investigation into the incident was still ongoing at the end of the year.
In May, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty decided to close its office in Baku. It had been raided and searched by the authorities in December 2014, and remained sealed since.
On 8 August, Rasim Aliyev, journalist and chair of the IRFS, was severely beaten by a group of men in Baku and died in hospital the following day. He had reported receiving threats on social media related to his Facebook post on a famous footballer. Six men were arrested and charged in connection with his death.
And on and on. Ecclestone went on to say that North America, “compared to [Azerbaijan], it is a bit of a shit hole isn’t it?”
Bernie, since I know you’re reading, here is a picture from Banff National Park, which is a national park, in North America:
And for everyone else, here’s a video of Bernie Ecclestone, Idiot, fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of a door:
h/t to NBC Sports!