Monday, October 23, 2017

To knee, or not to knee: that is the question


That Guardian story ran last week proclaiming that Lewis Hamilton "should be applauded" for the anti-Trump sentiments he expressed on social media ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin. Hamilton had posted on Instagram supporting the #takeaknee protests; however rumours that he would 'take a knee' at the Grand Prix proved to be unfounded and instead his political postings suddenly ceased when the F1 circus arrived in Texas. The fashionably anti-Trump Guardian article delves into the murky past of the F1 franchise under its previous owner Bernie Ecclestone, but totally omits to mention the current franchise owner Liberty Media. And that omission may well be relevant to Lewis Hamilton's decision not to take a knee in Austin.

Colorado-based Liberty Media is F1's and therefore Lewis Hamilton's paymaster. As the Denver Business Journal story below reveals, Liberty Media is a major supporter of Donald Trump and the Republican party, with the corporation and its executives donating around $1 million towards Trump's inaugaration costs. Information elsewhere shows that Liberty Media donated almost $100,000 to Republican causes in the 2016 presidential election; these included donations to ten senators, some of who are politically to the right of the Republican party.

Liberty Media is entitled to donate to Republican causes and Lewis Hamilton is entitled to support #takeaknee on Instagram. But Guardian readers and others are also entitled to know both sides of the story.


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