Gaby Du Plooy
This interview with Gabrielle Du Plooy was first published in expurgated form in The the Pakistani newspaper Daily Nawa I Waqt and the Tribune and Nation newspapers; It is reprinted here in it's entirety. According to the journalist Sunil Partiyal ' We believe this interview is of topical interest following a dramatic rise in racist attacks on Muslim and Hindu communities in the UK and Europe'
reporting by Anand Jaisingh 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 heated discussion in Indian, Pakistani and British media during the past two years. To some Proud personifies the racist attitudes that were commonplace 50 years ago throughout the UK particularly amongst the indigenous , poorly educated white working classes from which Ms Proud hails.
Lou Proud was dismissed in 2015 by the CEO of Phillips auctions 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 to offer a formal apology to the heads of department of Phillips UK and to the victim of her racist abuse. To avoid a protracted court case she was advised by her lawyers at Kingsley Napley to pay a token penalty of £10,000 to the complainant, an asian art dealer and Phillips client, and offer a formal apology.
Disclosed emails and documents reveal that Proud's friend Gaby du Plooy , manager of Zebra One gallery in Hampstead , London , combined forces with Proud to destroy and ' crush ' the complainant for personal reasons. It has been asserted by the solicitor Mr Anthony Jayes that both Proud and Du Plooy are racists as evidenced by comments in emails and documents disclosed by court order. Du Plooy was questioned by the Police for theft and VAT fraud three years ago. Hitherto she has refused all requests for interviews.
Suniyal Partiyal : Ms Du Plooy, Shaista Kumar and Vikram Mehta asked you to comment on your role in a civil and criminal action involving your friend Lou Proud which had strong racial and class overtones. You asked for questions to be tendered in writing but you pointedly did not respond . Why did you agree to speak in an ' in person' interview when you've refused all such requests hitherto ?
Du Plooy : Certain comments I made have been wilfully misconstrued.
Partiyal : Are you referring to your comment , contained in Anthony Jayes's letter, that you intended to ' crush and destroy' the asian art dealer then in litigation with your friend Lou Proud ?
Du Plooy : That comment has been attributed to me but I don't recall making it.
Partiyal : It's in Jayes's correspondence to Proud's lawyer Charlotte Harris. You and Proud allegedly decided to wage a sustained campaign of racially aggravated harassment of this man in order to disrupt his professional life and destroy his good name and reputation.
Du Plooy : That's nonsense. You have no proof that I made such comments .
Partiyal : It appears from disclosed documents that you're very sensitive about your working class origins, your lack of formal education, your ignorance of British history - although you take such pride in your Britishness that you might reasonably be described as a jingoist - your alleged dislike of Jews who comprise the majority of your clients and your hatred of colored immigrants as expressed in disclosed emails ?
Du Plooy : I'm working class and proud of it. It's true that I was expelled from the Queen's college , but I'm not racist and you have no proof that I am.
Partiyal : We've heard a recording in which you make explicitly racist comments about a Jewish client . In a separate recording you make comments about the asian man's ethnicity and his alleged ' class consciousness' . In India the caste system , though long abolished, is ubiquitous and is far from being socially stigmatised . It's analogue, class, is very important to the Brits and I believe it was Anthony Sampson who said it was ' the prism through which English society views itself'. Was your hatred of the asian man then in litigation with Proud based on a resentment of his class , his race or both ? ' . Did he call you ' working class white trash ' ?
Du Plooy : Yes, he did refer to my class on several occasions but I don't believe he called me ' white trash' . Lou told me he called her ' white trash' . I mean I did several shows with him so I can't have disliked him that much ! I am class conscious to a degree - we all are - I know nothing about India as I've never been and have no desire to go. I'm working class and don't feel a need to apologise for my origins or my political views. I don't know about the recording you're referring to . Most of my clients are jewish as they predominate in my neighbourhood. If I was anti semitic they wouldn't keep returning would they ?
Partiyal : You've been questioned under caution about fraud and art theft . In 2014 you returned a photograph of The Rolling Stones to it's owner after receiving a letter from the lawyer Paul Levett threatening legal reprisals if you failed to do so within a given period. You've been investigated for VAT fraud. Without wishing to cause offence your word can hardly be relied upon. You're not perceived as an exemplar of moral probity. It is alleged that you stole works belonging to the late photographer Philip Townsend and sold them on e bay .
Du Plooy : There is no truth to any of your allegations other than the letter I received from Mr Levett. The retention of that photograph was an oversight on my assistant's part. It was returned immediately after I discovered it was still in the gallery.
Partiyal : We've spoken to several artists who formerly worked with you and you are, without exception, widely disliked. Your manner has been described as brusque to the point of rudeness, resentful that you are managing a gallery on your father's behalf and that you are an alcoholic with sociopathic tendencies. You've been described by several people as a narcissist.
Du Plooy : yeah, I heard all of that , and I don't care how I'm perceived. My dad told me years ago that I was stupid and that my only asset was my looks. I like drinking and I take drugs occasionally , so what ? I'm able to continue working and sell art, that's all I care about.
Partiyal : Are you aware that Proud is facing a new set of allegations that may lead to criminal charges being preferred, and her lawyer, in consequence of being reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority may face similar charges ? Anthony Jayes reported her to the SRA and The Commission for Racial Equality. Harris, according to Jayes, is a misandrist, a pathological liar, a sociopath who suffers from Jewish self hatred. One of her former colleagues, a Mr Atkins, disparaged her intellectual ability, describing her as a ' meretricious jew' and a ' nauseating social climber ' who sees the law as ' an adjunct to show business' .
Du Plooy : I've met Harris on two occasions when she visited my gallery. She was pleasant. Lou was disappointed in her decision to back off ; she advised Lou to throw in the towel and admit defeat. Harris took the case with her to Kingsley Napley after being sacked by Mishcons, or so I heard from Lou. Lou told me that Harris had been physically abused in a previous relationship and had undertaken long term therapy as a result. Lou was advised by Harris to avoid a hearing at any cost , as the disclosed emails which were allegedly racist , leading to her dismissal from Phillips , would lose her the case resulting in huge costs against her . Harris told her to pay £10,000 in settlement and offer a written apology. That pissed her off. She didn't want to settle at any cost. She felt betrayed by Harris.
Partiyal : Have you been charged with any offence relating to this case ? What further charges have been laid against Proud ?
Du Plooy : No I haven't. I know nothing about any charges against Lou. Why don't you ask her ? I've got nothing more to say.