Passenger wins a cash pay-out for cruise ship comedians’ Irish jokes

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Have you heard the one about the Irishman who took legal action after being upset by a comedian on a cruise ship? P&O contested the action but now, according to The Guardian’s Northerner blog, they have reached an out-of-court settlement.
John Wolfe, a 74-year-old retired builder from Dublin, first complained about the “offensive jokes” after a world cruise on board Oriana. He said two comedians stereotyped Irish people and left him feeling deeply humiliated.
He and his wife were mollified by being given £1,000 compensation, and in 2008 set out on a cruise to the Caribbean on board Artemis, happy with P&O’s assurances that there would be no repeat performances, as Irish jokes had been banned.
They were so surprised and upset to hear similar jokes again that they took legal action against Carnival plc – P&O’s parent company – using race relations legislation and a European directive which sets out the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.
The Guardian reports that case was due to be heard at the Manchester Civil Justice centre but has been settled out of court.
Wolfe, who represented himself, said he could not comment on the outcome, which is believed to be a five-figure sum. The claim that he had been a victim of racial discrimination was struck out by the court.
At a hearing in May, District Judge Anthony Harrison said the case centred on whether Carnival was “vicariously liable” – that is, whether they were responsible for the actions of the comedians. Carnival argued that as the comedians were employed by a sub-contractor – and not directly by them – it is not responsible for the offensive jokes.
The company also claimed that as the alleged incidents took place outside UK waters, they were outside its jurisdiction and also argued that a settlement was reached with Wolfe following his first complaint and because he was given £1,000 worth of vouchers, this effectively precluded him pursuing a further complaint.
A P&O spokesperson told The Guardian: “We can confirm that this case has been resolved amicably out of court to the satisfaction of both parties.”
►A passenger who claims she was the subject of sexual harassment from a talent show judge is suing for A$1 million (£667,000) damages. Kate Strahan, 50, performed Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High on stage during a 10-day cruise aboard Pacific Jewel.
Rory Healey, a British member of the entertainment staff, made comments about being able to see her underwear beneath the leopard-skin dress. When he added that she was more like a tiger, Mrs Strahan repled: “A cougar, you mean?” to which he repled “You can cougar me anytime.”
Pacific Jewel is operated by P&O Australia.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:44+00:00 22 August 2012|Cruise news|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Carolyn Arkell 24 August 2012 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    This whole thing is so bazaar . I can’t believe people are so easily offended. When did we stop being able to laugh at ourselves? I was on one cruise that billed the comedy show as not being suitable for children. It was posted plainly everywhere. The couple in front of us brought their two children in that were about 7 and 10. They were so bored but the mother was having a fit at the slightly ribald jokes. She was so distracting I was ready to get up and tell her to leave. People need to lighten up. Period!

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