KT news service by Anand Jaisingh with additional reporting by Jagdish Mehta and Reuters .
Lou Proud of Lou Proud photographs LPP recently attended the AIPAD vernissage in New York and spent several days visiting galleries to solicit work. She was denied entry the following night to the Phillips NY party due to her summary dismissal in 2015 by her former employer Phillips UK after the disclosure of racist remarks attributed to her and her involvement in a notorious civil and criminal action in 2014 which she ultimately lost. According to investigative reporters with Reuters [ Mr Partiyal ] and Geet Gujarat it appears that several galleries in Europe and the US now refuse to work with her because of her vaunted racism and anti semitic beliefs. Such is her embarrassment at these revelations that under legal advice she has closed LouProudphotographs.com, her Twitter and Linked in accounts.
Mr Paul de Bono of Phillips UK confirmed last week in a telephone interview with Mr Partiyal that Proud was reprimanded twice by the board of managing directors at Phillips UK – including her immediate bosses Mr Paul De Bono and Ms Nicola Mason – after the disclosure by court order of emails sent from her work server which contained racist insults directed at an asian gentleman . She was dismissed by Phillip’s CEO Edward Dolman from her post as head of photographs after several warnings to refrain from making racist remarks went unheeded. It appears that her current employer, a foreign gentleman from North London who had bought photographs under Proud’s direction during her tenure at Phillips and accompanied her to New York was unaware of the full extent of her racist activities and is said to be ‘ horrified’ and ‘ sickened’ . His offer of a job to Louise Proud at his Parisian gallery has now been revoked. Vanessa Kramer , worldwide head of photographs at Philipps NY, had Proud removed from the Auctioneer’s lobby on her second trip last month. She is now reduced to working at Bromley and Bow print room and is desperately trying to find a gallery in Paris who will accept her work for exhibition next month. She is reduced to taking cash payments for the occasional sale through Gaby du Plooy , director of Zebra gallery was was questioned by police last year for art theft and VAT fraud.
Underlying the ostensible motive for the legal action was an ugly strain of racism and class resentment directed towards a man of asian origin. Her lawyer , the egregious Charlotte Harris, agreed that racism in any form , implied or stated, intended as humorous or otherwise, is unacceptable in contemporary society. The Tory politician John Enoch Powell defined racialism [ the term in currency in the 60’s ] as “the belief that one race is inherently superior to another”. Unfortunately there are some parts of the UK whose inhabitants refuse to acknowledge, let alone accept, the presence of a multi racial society and believe that Indians, Pakistanis and blacks are inferior to the indigenous white population. It is alleged that Lou Proud shares their beliefs and considers the use of terms such as “aloo gobi” , “Peshwari naan” , “Tarka Dahl”, “Paki” , “black bastard” , inter alia, to describe a man of asian origin as amusing and used them liberally to hurt, damage and demean her intended target. It is alleged in documents freely disclosed to Geet Gujarat by Anthony Jayes of Jayes / Collier LLP solicitors that Lou Proud has links with a neo fascist organisation that promotes the forcible repatriation of non whites. We are awaiting permission from Mr Jayes to publish these documents in full in The Times of India.
It has recently been confirmed in documents released to Mr Partiyal by Mr Harding of Kingsley Napley solicitors that Lou Proud was questioned by the police after making anti semitic remarks about a renowned London photo dealer of Jewish origin whose gallery is situated off the Kings Road. Her defence that she was drunk at the time and suffering mental problems failed to impress.
Given her views on race the epithet ‘ white trash’ allegedly used to describe her seems appropriate. Several european galleries , including a respected French photo dealer who previously consigned work to Phillips auctions refuses to work with her because of her racist beliefs. This dealer, who has asked not to be named was interviewed by a journalist from the Geet Gujarat and Gujarat Times newspapers. When we spoke with him in January he was considering suing her for defamation. We have tried to contact Proud but hitherto she has refused to speak with us. Emails sent by Proud from 2004 which paint a damning picture of her mental state and contain highly provocative sexual and racist language have come into our possession . These show a pattern of continuity similar to those disclosed by court order instigated by the solicitor Anthony Jayes LLP.
Those emails containing the racist insults’ Paki’ , “Paki snob’, and others yet more offensive prompted the following letter from the solicitor Anthony Jayes LLP to Lou Proud’s lawyer Charlotte Harris (who according to Mr. Jayes was summarily dismissed from Mishcon de Reya for ‘grossly unethical behaviour’ resulting in disciplinary action] excerpts of which we publish here under legal authority:
‘There has been a history of racial comments made by Ms Proud against our client expressed orally and in disclosed emails sent from her work address. Express comments have included those set out in Ms Proud’s email of February 4th 2015 sent from her personal email but ostensibly as head of photographs. Your client should not think that she has carte blanche to make racist comments to my client and in respect of previous reported events and those that appear in the documents my client’s rights are reserved.
I am conscious that the verbal comments are denied by your client but those in the emails, ‘ jigaboo’ , ‘Paki snob ‘, ‘black bastard’ , ‘your parents are wogs and should go back to Pakistan’ are irrefutable which would suggest that the recent racist comments complained of were an extension of the written words of abuse and in fact true. I note you tried to exculpate Ms Proud’s abusive remarks by citing her working class background and the reference to her ‘ back to back’ dysfunctional relationships leading to the mental problems that produced such insults but the fact remains she is a racist by any accepted definition of the term. It appears she was dismissed from her position at Phillip’s auctions after these emails were produced by court order from her work server.
I should add, Charlotte, that your behaviour throughout has been less than professional and the three reports about you to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority will lead to their own consequences. Your bullying and intimidation of a witness of Somalian extraction and constant references to your Jewishness in addition to references to my client’s ethnic origin and skin colour might reasonably lead to the the suspicion that you are racist. Two reports have been sent to the CRE in this regard.
Further emails disclosed from Ms Proud to a former employee [ a Ms Bingham ] at Bloomsbury auctions contain anti semitic remarks about a photographer ‘Gered Mankowitz’ , derisive comments about his style of dress and his alleged sexual harassment of female employees at two galleries your client was acquainted with. Another email from her work address disparages a ‘ Giles Huxley- Parlour’ as a ‘ public school prat’ with no knowledge of photography ‘ and a ‘ gay dick’. I understand these emails were disclosed to the managing director at Phillips auctions and Mr Paul de Bono. In this light your assertion that it was my client’s quite reasonable complaints to Phillips’s solicitors that led to Ms Proud’s dismissal is disingenuous in the extreme when taking into consideration the aforementioned emails she was forced to disclose by court order.’
Mr Jagdish Mehta from Geet Gujarat commented that Lou Proud is a racist of the variety seen in the notorious Big Brother TV show wherein two working class white girls mocked and abused an Indian actress Shilpa Shetty earning the condemnation of the world’s media and and the UK and Indian governments respectively. Lou Proud is cast from the same mould and believes that Indians ‘ smell’, that Indian food is “greasy and smelly”, that only savages eat with their hands and that being white and blonde she would be the victim of unwanted attention and even assault should she visit the sub continent. According to disclosed emails she sees herself as “superior” to the “coloured” races, imperial attitudes that are the legacy of Empire , an inheritance of ancestral memory still present in the UK and South Africa.
Legal documents generously disclosed to us by Anthony Jayes of Anthony Jayes LLP reveal that seven years ago Proud was arrested and questioned by the police for racially abusing a woman who was working in a hotel rest room. She was partly exonerated by citing longstanding mental problems and was ordered to to perform three months community service and attend sessions with a psychiatrist. Geet Gujarat has spoken to several of her former partners including an Irish photographer and French gallery owner who attested to her mental problems, class resentment and an ingrained prejudice to the presence of colored immigrants in the UK. Nicola Mason at Phillips UK confirmed as such in a telephone conversation with Mr Jaisingh but was reluctant to give further information for fear of legal reprisals. Mr Partiyal [ whom we thank for permitting us to re publish this article] interviewed employees at Augusta Edwards Fine Art and Osbourne Samuel galleries who were co operative but guarded in their responses. Three letters of complaint , one from a Mr H. Olad of Hampstead and one from a Ms R. Khatun , sent to Ms Proud and Phillips’s management [ Mr. Paul De Bono] objecting to her bigotry have been disclosed to us in their entirety . We quote verbatim : ‘ you apparently think it’s funny to ridicule someone about their ethnicity. Seeing these comments made me feel physically sick’. ‘ I was revolted by the racial slurs I read ..did you really call him a ‘ Paki ‘ and tell him to shut his ‘aloo gobi’ ? That’s just unbelievable. Really pathetic. I recognise you from your photograph and will not serve you should you approach me. ‘
Attacks on minorities, particularly Muslim women, have increased significantly in the wake of Brexit’s success fuelled by attitudes such as Lou Proud’s. It is these attitudes that have made her a pariah in the art world. No sanctuary should be afforded racists in modern Britain. It appears from legal documents disclosed by Mr De Bono to Anthony Jayes LLP solicitors that Proud’s attitudes are shared by at least one former colleague , a Ms Alex Godwin- Brown, who made monkey noises and disparaging remarks about “kaffirs” in her native South Africa. Godwin – Brown was reprimanded by her former bosses Paul de Bono and Edward Dolman and resigned soon thereafter. Phillips auctions stands indicted as an incubator for racists. Updated news: Ms Lucy Hayes of Interloper films based in Los Angeles visited London last week to interview Charlotte Harris, Proud’s lawyer, to elicit information regarding class and institutional racialism highlighted in this case for a documentary which we understand is in pre production.
[ with special thanks to Mr Partiyal and Reuters, Geet Gujurat and The Gujarat Times, Steven Phelps, Mr. Paul de Bono, the Alan Klotz gallery , Anthony Jayes LLP, Kingsley Napley solicitors and Schillings solicitors , Ms. Bingham , Ms Lucy Hayes of interloper films, Nicola Mason, Pierre Spake, Augusta Edwards fine art and Osbourne Samuel galleries and former personnel at Phillips UK and Bloomsbury auctions who spoke with us on condition of anonymity ]