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Nico Piquet Fined For Abhorrent Comments Aimed at Lewis Hamilton

by Gabriel Martinez
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Brazilian court has ordered a retired Formula One champion, Nelson Piquet to pay $950,000 for making offensive comments about Lewis Hamilton. Piquet had called Lewis, who is a seven-time champion, as “Neguinho”, which is an insulting term for someone of Black heritage. In addition, he also said some other racist and homophobic words.

On Friday, a court in Brasilia ordered Piquet to give 5 million Brazilian reals (money) to special funds that work towards making sure people of all races and those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community do not get treated differently or unfairly. The charges against him were filed by some human rights groups in Brazil, like the National LGBTI+ Alliance.

Human rights groups made a complaint about Piquet because he said something that went against the country’s idea of treating everyone with respect. The judge in this case looked at Brazil’s 2010 Statute of Racial Equality, which describes what counts as racial discrimination, and decided that the things Piquet said fit the definition.

Lewis Hamilton, a driver in Formula 1 (F1), called out “old fashioned” thinking and has said he faced prejudice his entire life – he is the only Black F1 driver. Last year, he was even made an honorary citizen of Brazil.

Nelson Piquet, a three-time F1 champion during the 1980s, talked about a crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen from the Red Bull team that happened at the British Grand Prix. It’s interesting because Verstappen’s girlfriend is Piquet’s daughter, Kelly!

Piquet apologised for using a Brazilian term which can be used as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’, but he said it wasn’t meant to hurt anybody. The judge in this case said that although Piquet didn’t mean to offend, the word itself is still seen as racist and so he will face consequences.

Piquet said some mean stuff about Hamilton missing out on a championship before. He was basically saying that if Hamilton wasn’t gay, he would have been successful in getting the championship. The judge in this case thought what Piquet said was wrong and unfair because it suggested being gay is a bad thing. Piquet can still try to get an appeal for this decision if he wants to.

Piquet caused some Formula One fans to become angry because he gave money ($95,000) in support of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, who was a far-right leader. Unfortunately, Bolsonaro did not win his re-election campaign.

More info on auto racing from Bigbignews and the Associated Press: https://bigbignews.net/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports.

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