This week , in conjunction with Al Jazeera and Geet Gujarat , the Economic Times of India republishes a story that first appeared in Geet Gujarat . We believe it is of topical interest following a dramatic rise in racist attacks on Muslim and Hindu communities in the UK and Europe. With special thanks to Mr S Partiyal and Mr J. Mehta of Reuters Intl. for their investigative zeal in reporting a story that has convulsed the art world.
reporting by Anand Jaisingh with additional reporting by Jagdish Mehta and Reuters .
A white English woman named Lou Proud of Lou Proud photographs, a company now dissolved following allegations of racist abuse of an asian man in the London art world has been the subject of much reporting in Indian, Pakistani and British newspapers during the past year. To many of her acquaintances to whom we have spoken she personifies the vile racist attitudes that were commonplace 50 years ago throughout the UK particularly amongst the white working classes from which Ms Proud hails.
Lou Proud was dismissed in 2015 by the CEO of Phillips UK Mr Edward Dolman after the disclosure of racist remarks attributed to her in emails sent from her work server during her involvement in a notorious civil and criminal action in 2014 which she ultimately lost. She was forced by court order, secured by the London attorney Anthony Jayes, to offer a formal apology to the heads of department of Phillips UK, to Vanessa Kramer and to the victim of her racist abuse. To compound the felony she was obliged to pay a token penalty of £10,000 to the victim of her racist abuse.
According to reporter Mr Sunil Partiyal and Geet Gujarat it appears that several galleries in Europe [ the VU gallery in Paris , Cameraworks in Germany , The Marlat gallery in Paris, the Alan Klotz and Holden Luntz galleries in New York, ] and in the the US now refuse to work with her because of her racism unambiguously expressed in emails and texts disclosed by court order at the behest of the London attorney Anthony Jayes solicitors LLP. Such is her embarrassment at these revelations that under legal advice from her former attorney, the disgraced Charlotte Harris ( the recipient of three complaints tendered by the Jayes to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for gross ethical breaches of the law ) she has closed LouProudphotographs.com, her Twitter and Linked in accounts.
Jagdish Mehta interviewed Mr Paul de Bono of Phillips UK last month who confirmed that Proud was reprimanded twice by the managing directors at Phillips UK after the disclosure by court order of emails sent from her work server which contained racist insults directed at an asian gentleman renowned in the art world who is also a Phillips client. Mr de Bono confirmed that Proud was dismissed by Phillip’s CEO Edward Dolman after several warnings to refrain from making racist remarks went unheeded. Ms. Vanessa Kramer , worldwide head of photographs at Phillips NY, instructed that Proud be physically ejected from the Phillips’s New York premises last month. We thank Ms Kramer for agreeing to be interviewed by Geet Gujarat. Proud, rendered a pariah in the art world, is now reduced to working at a print room in Bromley and Bow and is desperately trying to find a gallery and financial backing to do shows in Paris and Frankfurt.
Hampstead’s Zebra gallery director Gaby du Plooy who was questioned by police last year for art theft and VAT fraud is now working with Proud, having just lost a major investor in her gallery. Because of thousands of pounds owed in VAT and a pending law suit for art theft initiated by a renowned photographer, Du Plooy may close Zebra gallery later this year. Ms. Proud’s investor has also withdrawn his offer of office space in London after learning of her history of racist abuse and her longstanding psychiatric problems disclosed in emails , corroborated by correspondence disclosed by solicitor Jayes. An inaugural show planned in Frankfurt next month has now been cancelled. Proud's new associate and potential backer has just returned from St Petersburg and accompanied Proud to Paris Photo last month. He informed us that he will not be working with Proud until and unless she issues a full public apology apology for her racist comments.
It is alleged in court documents released to us by Anthony Jayes that Lou Proud sent emails containing racist abuse e.g. “ you fucking Paki” , “black bastard” , inter alia, to describe a man of asian origin and used them liberally to hurt, damage and demean her intended target. It is alleged by Mr Anthony Jayes that Lou Proud has links with a neo fascist organisation that promotes the forcible repatriation of non whites. The Times of India will be publishing these documents in full and has negotiated an exclusive interview with Mr Jayes in which he has promised to speak freely and openly about the circumstances that led to Harris’s dismissal from Mishcon de Reya, his opinion of her her sociopathic behaviour and alleged dislike of colored immigrants. He has agreed to disclose medical reports pertaining to Proud's mental instability and her false allegations of harassment in 2012 and 2013.
Emails sent by Lou Proud in 2004 and 2012 which paint a damning picture of her mental state and contain highly offensive racist language have come into our possession, courtesy of Anthony Jayes solicitors . These show a pattern of continuity similar to those disclosed by court order instigated by Jayes.
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 , edited 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, ‘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 complaints to Phillips’s solicitors that led to Ms Proud’s dismissal is disingenuous in the extreme when taking into consideration the emails she was forced to disclose by court order.’
According to disclosed emails Proud 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 disclosed by Mr Jayes which will be published in full reveal that seven years ago Proud was arrested and questioned by the police for racially abusing a hotel worker . She was partly exonerated by citing longstanding mental problems and was ordered 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 , a French gallery owner, her former landlord Jose and her current partner who recently visited St Petersburg. All have attested to her mental problems, class resentment and an ingrained prejudice to the presence of colored immigrants in the UK. Both Nicola Mason at Phillips UK and Amy Tibble of Osbourne Samuel confirmed as such in lengthy telephone conversations with Mr Jaisingh but were reluctant to give further information for fear of legal reprisals.
Three letters of complaint , one from a Mr 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. It appears from legal documents disclosed by Mr De Bono to Anthony Jayes 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 [ currently working on a documentary on Robert Mapplethorpe] based in Los Angeles visited London seven weeks ago to interview Charlotte Harris, Proud’s former lawyer, to elicit information regarding class and institutional racism highlighted in this case for a documentary which is in pre production. Given her role in this sordid affair it's hardly surprising that Harris refused to co operate. We have learned that the directors of Kigsley Napley are considering asking Harris to quit the firm and find employment elsewhere. A lawyer at Kingsley Napley who asked not to be named, told us that Harris 'has become a liability' .