Paul Gascoigne, the former England footballer, has been fined £1,000 after admitting to making a racist ‘joke’ in front of hundreds of people at his ‘An Evening With Gazza’ show.
Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard that Gascoigne ‘humiliated’ a black security guard assigned to protect him during one of his shows in Wolverhampton.
The 49-year-old was fined because he used ‘threatening or abusive words or behaviour’.
Gascoigne asked Errol Rowe: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”
District Judge Graham Wilkinson also ordered Gascoigne to pay Mr Rowe £1,000 in compensation.
Mr Wilkinson told the former England star: “You sought to get a laugh from an audience of over 1,000 people because of the colour of Mr Rowe’s skin.”
He praised the Crown Prosecution Service for taking the case to court, saying Gascoigne’s comment at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on 30th November was an example of ‘insidious’ racism which needed to be challenged.
The judge continued: “Mr Rowe was clearly humiliated on stage, as part of an act.
“As a society it is important that we challenge racially-aggravated behaviour in all its forms.
“It is the creeping ‘low-level’ racism that society still needs to challenge.
“A message needs to be sent that in the 21st century society that we live in, such action, such words will not be tolerated.
“It is not acceptable to laugh words like this off as some form of joke.”
He told Gascoigne what happened was a ‘stain on his character’.
When interviewed by police, Gascoigne had said he meant no offence and that it was ‘just good humour’.
He added: “I’m upset that I upset him. Looking back, I said the wrong thing. I’ve upset somebody. I apologise from the bottom of my heart. It will never happen again.”