|AN ITV newsreader has been accused of imitating Sir Trevor McDonald by a female presenter who is bringing a £5m racism and ageism case against the television company.|
Lisa Aziz, the first Asian news presenter to appear on national terrestrial television, claims that Steve Scott “regularly mimicked” the famous Afro-Caribbean newsreader’s accent during rehearsals.
Scott, a former ITN Africa correspondent and a regular presenter of ITV’s lunchtime and weekend news bulletins, is also alleged, in papers prepared for an employment tribunal, to have imitated Pakistani and Irish accents and the accent of Alex Beresford, the black ITV weatherman.
The troubled television firm has been forced to launch an internal investigation into allegations of racism at ITV West Country in Bristol where Aziz and Scott co-presented the nightly news programme until she was suspended over alleged expenses irregularities in June.
Although the investigation has cleared Scott of racism, the presenter has decided to stop doing his impersonations.
Scott declined to comment on the claims. But he has told friends that he has never imitated McDonald and his imitations of other colleagues are in good humour and “definitely not racist”.
Its one of those ageism suits where the old and busted accuses someone of getting rid of them for new hotness. This case it was four hotnesses.
|Aziz, a 47-year-old single mother of two and a guest at Chequers of Sarah and Gordon Brown, is suing ITV for race, sex and age discrimination.|
She claims she was “set up” by senior ITV managers on a bogus expenses-fiddling charge.
She alleges that they wanted to remove her from her £160,000-a-year post as part of a cost-cutting exercise. The company denies the charges.
In papers submitted to her legal team in preparation for the case, she alleges that she is a victim of “a cult of youth” in which “institutional ageism” in TV treats older female staff less favourably than older male staff.
In an interview last week she claimed that, like Selina Scott and Moira Stewart, she has been “targeted for removal” in favour of younger women presenters. “I have been replaced by four blondes in their twenties and thirties,” she said.
Four blondes in their twenties and thirties? It seems to be a helluva bargain.