John McCririck loses £3m age discrimination case against Channel 4 after panel finds him 'unpalatable to a wider potential audience'

Horse racing pundit John McCririck has lost his age discrimination battle with former employer Channel 4.

McCririck was dropped from Channel 4’s racing programme and replaced by a younger team, including Clare Balding, back in October 2012.

At the time he said: “According to Channel 4, I'm being sacked after audience research”

"I trust those now in power, having shown their macho images as all new producers do by getting rid of their most well-known older performer, don't forget that racing appeals to all generations.”

Earlier this year he launched a £3m age discrimination case, seeking £500,000 for loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish and a further £2.5m in punitive damages.

However, a Central London Employment Tribunal panel today ruled against him, saying: "All the evidence is that Mr McCririck’s pantomime persona, as demonstrated on the celebrity television appearances, and his persona when appearing on Channel 4 Racing, together with his self-described bigoted and male chauvinist views were clearly unpalatable to a wider potential audience.

"The tribunal is satisfied that the respondent had the legitimate aim of attracting a wider audience to horseracing."

During the hearing, Channel 4 argued that data suggested McCririck was "highly unpopular" with viewers and bosses were simply unable to ask him to change his appearance, "extravagant manner", and "slightly mad, aggressive" persona. Meanwhile McCririck's representative said the job was his life and that despite the humiliation of having his days and hours cut he had carried on working.

McCririck, who was berated for his sexist remarks throughout his appearances on Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Wife Swap, said the decision was a "historic setback for all employees in their 30s to their 70s".

“After such a landmark judicial verdict, my failed legal action ensures that anonymous suits and skirts, who control the media, numerous other businesses and the public sector, will now enjoy complete freedom to replace older employees whatever their unimpaired ability and merit," he said.

According to earlier reports, McCririck was being represented on a no-win no-fee basis.

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