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FAO Mr Nigel Turner, CEO, BMI

Dear Mr Turner,

I am writing to you on the matter of the dismissal of Lisa Ashton.

I understand that in order to carry on business it is necessary to observe the laws and cultural mores of the countries where you operate. That sometimes these laws are unfortunate does not preclude obeying them.

However, in the case of Ms Ashton your actions are extraordinary. That she did not wish to be treated as a second class human being is understandable, and that she stood up for herself is laudable. That you insisted, under penalty of dismissal, that she accept the role of chattel is unforgiveable.

Your company demonstrated hypocrisy by stating that she was required to accept this role as a measure of ‘respect for Saudi culture’, simultaneously showing no respect for Ms Ashtons own cultural values; values which place men and women as precisely equal, neither subservient to the other. Given that I expect these to be your values as well, I am disgusted by your actions; ‘respect’ for the culture of others is not the be all and end all in human relationships. I guess there are aspects of Saudi culture which can be respected, even admired, although they don’t spring to mind. However, the position of women in their society is not just unpleasant, it is repugnant, a disgrace among civilisations, and deserves to be held in contempt. I would have hoped that you would hold the same opinion.

The gains made by women in Western societies over the centuries are an example of what is best in our civilisation, and your actions are an example of what is not.

If your female staff choose to abase themselves, that is their choice. For you to require it, as a condition of employment, is incompatible with any views I am prepared to finance. Until, and unless, you rectify this error on your companies part I will not travel with BMI, and I will do my best to dissuade others from doing so as well.

Yours

CountingCats

CC Sir Michael Bishop, Chaiman, British Midland Airways Ltd.

H/T Jihad Watch

9 Comments

  1. NickM says:

    And while you are at it Mr Turner you might attempt an apology for the fucking cattle truck of an A320 I had to endure back from Prague and the utterly surreal amount your company charged for a very small bottle of water.

    I have never been on a flight like it. You know male flight attendents have a reputation for spending a lot of money on grooming products? Not this lot. This lot looked like nightclub bouncers and they needed to be… The lads in the row ahead were swearing a blue streak and farting Manchester United songs*. It was like the fucking 192 bus through Stockport on a Saturday night. Wailers, moaners, farters and howling babies.

    The only surprise I had was that no bugger was rolling up a spliff. Although I don’t know for sure. It was a locked cockpit.

    I will admit though it was bloody cheap.

    *They were also berating Liverpudlians in the foulest of terms and seeing as this was a flight into Manchester there were some Scousers aboard. I thought it was going to kick off. I thought we were going to end up on Northwest Tonight for being the only ever scene of aerial football hooliganism.

  2. Ms says:

    This is a message on behalf of Lisa Ashton

    Dear Counting cats

    My goodness, how can we thank you, your support means EVERYTHING to Lisa. She had non from the union unite/amicus so the fight has been with them as much as BMI.

    We have fought this ALONE. We wrote a ten page letter going into details of exactly how she was being treated by her Manchester managers, to the same gentleman you have written to. This was around 18 moths ago. Yep you guessed it, no reply so if he says “he knew nothing about it” well he better have a word with his local postman.

    When support is shown to be 99.9% across all cultural divides this proves a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. This is NOT and never has been a political statement or Racial statement and any one person or organization that tries to turn it into such be will be distanced by Lisa.

    Once again, thank you, the more noise we make as individuals the more BMI will have to think about changing the policy.

    On Behalf of Miss Ashton

  3. RAB says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight.

    Lisa was an air hostess, during the flight she would have been dressed in her usual uniform, serving the food and drinks and flogging the duty frees.
    Presumably there would have been Saudi male passengers on the plane, but somehow they have not been outraged at this stage.
    But as soon as the plane lands Lisa has to put on a sack and and abide by the cultural mores of 7th century Barbarians?

    As a Law graduate, my advice is to sue their friggin arses off in a proper Court, not a Tribunal.

    The upside is, who would want to work for the bunch of cringing dhimmis after this!

    Good luck with the musical career by the way, Lisa.

    If ever you need someone to give you a rave review sometime, I’m your man.
    I am a music journalist these days.

  4. CountingCats says:

    We wrote a ten page letter going into details of exactly how she was being treated by her Manchester managers

    Want to see it posted here? or parts posted?

  5. Ms says:

    Hi guys again thanks for support. The ten page letter will be used when it goes to court so keeping powder dry on that one.

    I have included a release by Lisa that if you agree with please pass on

    Rab..she will be made up to hear that, thanks
    Some have said she doing this to further the music career.Those that say that have NO idead what fighting a case like this takes out of you

    Its actually the other way round, last year she was nominated finalist in BBC Radio 2 ” New Song Writers of the Year” As Marc Ash ..McKinney….this was right in the middle of the buildup to and the court case itself…a good time to get press,,,she did not because she did not want it seen that she was using a legal situation to boost the press as a singer/writer

    Thats why with some very good friends she has done a cover track.
    Shame Shame Shame as Looby…….it was the only way we were getting an forward movement on the case…..well its worked.

    Shame Shame Shame on BMI Shame Shame Shame on Unite/Amicus
    The ilike site is http://www.ilike.com/artist/Looby
    The Myspace site is http://www.myspace.com/loobyofficial
    If you do like it Rab drop Looby a message cheers

    ANYWAY onwards…………….

    Gordon Brown Speaking to the BBC, 27th March 2009

    “I think in the 21st century people do expect discrimination to be removed and they expect us to be looking at these issues.”

    We shall see if he is a man of words or of deeds.

    On Behalf of Lisa Ashton

    My goodness, how can I thank you, your support means EVERYTHING. She has had none from the Union Unite/Amicus. They should feel ashamed.

    The advise to Lisa from the Union was minimal some might even say non existent. Several times she requested and was refused direct access to a solicitor by the Union to ask very important questions that needed answering promptly. The fight has been with them as much as BMI. They would not defend her case in court.

    We have fought this ALONE (We did not get any legal assistance at all until just before the tribunal date), however Lisa is gaining support and friends by the hour.

    When support is shown to be 99.9% across all cultural divides this proves a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. This it is NOT and never has been a political statement or racial statement. Indeed she has support from all religious faiths as can bee seen on postings throughout the internet, who are appalled by BMI. To those people, you have no idea quite what a difference you are making, again thank you.

    Those very few who do not support her stance do so from a point I would suggest of ignorance of the facts and the background that are yet to surface. This is not to time to delve into these in any great detail save to say it shows BMI’s lower management in an even worse light.

    Lisa states. I DISTANCE MYSELF FROM ANY PERSON OR ORGANISATION WHO ATTEPT TO TURN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME INTO A POLITICAL STATEMENT OR POLITICAL FURTHING OF ANY CAUSE OR BELIEF……………THIS IS AN EMPLOYMENT ISSUE ONLY.

    Put simply, this is Lisa’s stance against BMI imposing its own interpretation of Saudi law on its female workforce and other work related issues that we will bring to the public’s awareness at a later date if it is required.

    We wrote a ten page letter going into details of exactly how she was being treated by her Manchester managers, to the CEO, around two years ago. He does therefore not now have the excuse that he was not aware of what was happening. He did not even have the decency to give a direct reply to Lisa, we were not surprised.

    Without going into great detail now, the following points need to be known regarding the case,
    a) She was never given the course that BMI said was required before crew flew to Saudi.
    b) She was Manchester based; the flights were out of the Heathrow base.
    c) She told the company clearly that she would refuse a Saudi duty 18 months or so before she got the phone call for the “Saudi duty” in question. One point that is significant is that the company “taped” the conversation between the crewing officer and Lisa that morning. Her documented requests to similarly “tape” meetings between herself and management during meeting were refused. We leave you to decide why.
    d) She was already flying a mix of Long and Short Haul therefore could have easily been given a short haul flight instead, out of her home base.
    e) No other cabin crew member according to BMI was refusing to fly to Saudi i.e. they were perfectly happy to follow the written instruction by BMI to “walk behind the men…irrespective of rank” (we do not know, or do we care, if the same memo was sent to BMI’s female pilots). Is BMI’s rostering system so poor that it can’t handle a simple request of no Saudi flights due to BMI’s own imposed requirement that only one person has issue with? Or, is there another reason? For your information, all major airlines in the UK can and do make changes on a daily basis to crew trips based on preference, illness, even personality clashes.

    The Tribunal was aware of these facts and a lot more…. Lisa lost the case.

    We still need your help, it is of note that as of yet no politicians have mentioned the case or has it been covered on any major UK TV News channel. Please tell them about it.

    We are pushing for this to be taken to a judicial review and we need your help.

    Let’s see if Mr. Brown or the Home Secretary stands by the statement at the top. We want them to order a judicial review of the case, please write to them and demand one.

    Let’s see if the CEO of BMI wishes to re-read the copy of the letter that was sent to him all that time ago by us, let it sink in, and then make a public apology for the way BMI have treated this lady who was once a highly regarded crew member for BMI for all those years, and who they were only to happy to make an “Ambassador” for the company a number of years ago.

    We are waiting for “we admit we were wrong, we are sorry” from the CEO of BMI

    Please write, email, and help raise this matter in any way you can.
    We can be contacted at friendsoflisa@mentalsounds.com.

    Once again on behalf of Lisa, thank you.

    Friends of Lisa

    Gordon Brown Speaking to the BBC, 27th March 2009

    “I think in the 21st century people do expect discrimination to be removed and they expect us to be looking at these issues.”

    We shall see if he is a man of words or of deeds.

    On Behalf of Lisa Ashton

    My goodness, how can I thank you, your support means EVERYTHING. She has had none from the Union Unite/Amicus. They should feel ashamed.

    The advise to Lisa from the Union was minimal some might even say non existent. Several times she requested and was refused direct access to a solicitor by the Union to ask very important questions that needed answering promptly. The fight has been with them as much as BMI. They would not defend her case in court.

    We have fought this ALONE (We did not get any legal assistance at all until just before the tribunal date), however Lisa is gaining support and friends by the hour.

    When support is shown to be 99.9% across all cultural divides this proves a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. This it is NOT and never has been a political statement or racial statement. Indeed she has support from all religious faiths as can bee seen on postings throughout the internet, who are appalled by BMI. To those people, you have no idea quite what a difference you are making, again thank you.

    Those very few who do not support her stance do so from a point I would suggest of ignorance of the facts and the background that are yet to surface. This is not to time to delve into these in any great detail save to say it shows BMI’s lower management in an even worse light.

    Lisa states. I DISTANCE MYSELF FROM ANY PERSON OR ORGANISATION WHO ATTEPT TO TURN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME INTO A POLITICAL STATEMENT OR POLITICAL FURTHING OF ANY CAUSE OR BELIEF……………THIS IS AN EMPLOYMENT ISSUE ONLY.

    Put simply, this is Lisa’s stance against BMI imposing its own interpretation of Saudi law on its female workforce and other work related issues that we will bring to the public’s awareness at a later date if it is required.

    We wrote a ten page letter going into details of exactly how she was being treated by her Manchester managers, to the CEO, around two years ago. He does therefore not now have the excuse that he was not aware of what was happening. He did not even have the decency to give a direct reply to Lisa, we were not surprised.

    Without going into great detail now, the following points need to be known regarding the case,
    a) She was never given the course that BMI said was required before crew flew to Saudi.
    b) She was Manchester based; the flights were out of the Heathrow base.
    c) She told the company clearly that she would refuse a Saudi duty 18 months or so before she got the phone call for the “Saudi duty” in question. One point that is significant is that the company “taped” the conversation between the crewing officer and Lisa that morning. Her documented requests to similarly “tape” meetings between herself and management during meeting were refused. We leave you to decide why.
    d) She was already flying a mix of Long and Short Haul therefore could have easily been given a short haul flight instead, out of her home base.
    e) No other cabin crew member according to BMI was refusing to fly to Saudi i.e. they were perfectly happy to follow the written instruction by BMI to “walk behind the men…irrespective of rank” (we do not know, or do we care, if the same memo was sent to BMI’s female pilots). Is BMI’s rostering system so poor that it can’t handle a simple request of no Saudi flights due to BMI’s own imposed requirement that only one person has issue with? Or, is there another reason? For your information, all major airlines in the UK can and do make changes on a daily basis to crew trips based on preference, illness, even personality clashes.

    The Tribunal was aware of these facts and a lot more…. Lisa lost the case.

    We still need your help, it is of note that as of yet no politicians have mentioned the case or has it been covered on any major UK TV News channel. Please tell them about it.

    We are pushing for this to be taken to a judicial review and we need your help.

    Let’s see if Mr. Brown or the Home Secretary stands by the statement at the top. We want them to order a judicial review of the case, please write to them and demand one.

    Let’s see if the CEO of BMI wishes to re-read the copy of the letter that was sent to him all that time ago by us, let it sink in, and then make a public apology for the way BMI have treated this lady who was once a highly regarded crew member for BMI for all those years, and who they were only to happy to make an “Ambassador” for the company a number of years ago.

    We are waiting for “we admit we were wrong, we are sorry” from the CEO of BMI

    Please write, email, and help raise this matter in any way you can.
    We can be contacted at friendsoflisa@mentalsounds.com.

    Once again on behalf of Lisa, thank you.

    Friends of Lisa

  6. Gordon Brown Speaking to the BBC, 27th March 2009

    “I think in the 21st century people do expect discrimination to be removed and they expect us to be looking at these issues.”

    We shall see if he is a man of words or of deeds.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6169989.ece

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1173861/Stewardess-sacked-refusing-wear-Islamic-robe-walk-male-colleagues.html

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/columnists/sue-carroll/2009/04/28/bmi-stewardess-tribunal-was-plane-stupid-115875-21314859/

    On Behalf of Lisa Ashton

    My goodness, how can I thank you, your support means EVERYTHING. She has had none from the Union Unite/Amicus. They should feel ashamed.

    The advise to Lisa from the Union was minimal some might even say non existent. Several times she requested and was refused direct access to a solicitor by the Union to ask very important questions that needed answering promptly. The fight has been with them as much as BMI. They would not defend her case in court.

    We have fought this ALONE (We did not get any legal assistance at all until just before the tribunal date), however Lisa is gaining support and friends by the hour.

    When support is shown to be 99.9% across all cultural divides this proves a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. This it is NOT and never has been a political statement or racial statement. Indeed she has support from all religious faiths as can bee seen on postings throughout the internet, who are appalled by BMI. To those people, you have no idea quite what a difference you are making, again thank you.

    Those very few who do not support her stance do so from a point I would suggest of ignorance of the facts and the background that are yet to surface. This is not to time to delve into these in any great detail save to say it shows BMI’s lower management in an even worse light.

    Lisa states. I DISTANCE MYSELF FROM ANY PERSON OR ORGANISATION WHO ATTEPT TO TURN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME INTO A POLITICAL STATEMENT OR POLITICAL FURTHING OF ANY CAUSE OR BELIEF……………THIS IS AN EMPLOYMENT ISSUE ONLY.

    Put simply, this is Lisa’s stance against BMI imposing its own interpretation of Saudi law on its female workforce and other work related issues that we will bring to the public’s awareness at a later date if it is required.

    We wrote a ten page letter going into details of exactly how she was being treated by her Manchester managers, to the CEO, around two years ago. He does therefore not now have the excuse that he was not aware of what was happening. He did not even have the decency to give a direct reply to Lisa, we were not surprised.

    Without going into great detail now, the following points need to be known regarding the case,
    a) She was never given the course that BMI said was required before crew flew to Saudi.
    b) She was Manchester based; the flights were out of the Heathrow base.
    c) She told the company clearly that she would refuse a Saudi duty 18 months or so before she got the phone call for the “Saudi duty” in question. One point that is significant is that the company “taped” the conversation between the crewing officer and Lisa that morning. Her documented requests to similarly “tape” meetings between herself and management during meeting were refused. We leave you to decide why.
    d) She was already flying a mix of Long and Short Haul therefore could have easily been given a short haul flight instead, out of her home base.
    e) No other cabin crew member according to BMI was refusing to fly to Saudi i.e. they were perfectly happy to follow the written instruction by BMI to “walk behind the men…irrespective of rank” (we do not know, or do we care, if the same memo was sent to BMI’s female pilots). Is BMI’s rostering system so poor that it can’t handle a simple request of no Saudi flights due to BMI’s own imposed requirement that only one person has issue with? Or, is there another reason? For your information, all major airlines in the UK can and do make changes on a daily basis to crew trips based on preference, illness, even personality clashes.
    f) BMI introduced the Saudi route AFTER Lisa had worked for bmi for 9 years and had worked on long haul for 18 months.

    The Tribunal was aware of these facts and a lot more…. Lisa lost the case.

    We still need your help, it is of note that as of yet no politicians have mentioned the case or has it been covered on any major UK TV News channel. Please tell them about it.

    We are pushing for this to be taken to a judicial review and we need your help.

    Let’s see if Mr. Brown or the Home Secretary stands by the statement at the top. We want them to order a judicial review of the case, please write to them and demand one.

    Let’s see if the CEO of BMI wishes to re-read the copy of the letter that was sent to him all that time ago by us, let it sink in, and then make a public apology for the way BMI have treated this lady who was once a highly regarded crew member for BMI for all those years, and who they were only to happy to make an “Ambassador” for the company a number of years ago.

    We are waiting for “we admit we were wrong, we are sorry” from the CEO of BMI

    Please write, email, and help raise this matter in any way you can.
    We can be contacted at friendsoflisa@mentalsounds.com.

    Once again on behalf of Lisa, thank you.

    Friends of Lisa

  7. Chalcedon says:

    Totally agree, CC. Frankly I found this story utterly repugnant.

  8. RAB says:

    Thanks for the link Ms.

    I am no cruel Simon Cowell (though I can be. Jon Anderson, ex of Yes, retired to Twee Island after the hatchet job I did on him!)

    Shame Shame Shame is a kicking little track! hope you get shedloads of downloads.

    I could give the guitarist a run for his money though, even if I am only a writer!

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