He was forced to apologise for posting a ‘misjudged’ tweet in which he claimed the Senegal national football team resembled Marbella beach sellers back in 2018.
And Lord Sugar’s ‘racist’ tweet resurfaced on Tuesday, during a row over social distancing with nemesis Piers Morgan, 55, and two of his sons Spencer, 26, and Stanley, 22.
Apprentice star Sugar, 73, had taken to Twitter to spark a row with Piers and his family after Stanley had attended a Black Lives Matter protest in London.
Controversial: Lord Sugar’s ‘racist’ tweet has resurfaced during a row over social distancing… two years after the BBC refused to sack him over post about Senegal footballers (stock image)
Row: Piers Morgan’s son Stanley had reminded Sugar of the post after he criticised him for attending a Black Lives Matter protest amid the coronavirus – Lord Sugar tweeted this picture of the Senegal team, edited to include handbags and sunglasses laid out on sheets in 2018
‘Yes, that was me’: Sharing the post again, Stanley had written: ‘Ain’t this you big man?’ and Lord Sugar questioned what it had to do with the argument
Replying to a post Stanley had shared about some of his favourite moments from the protests, Lord Sugar took aim.
He wrote: ‘Did you wear a mask and stay 6ft away from every one? Daddy would do his nut if it was any one else @piersmorgan.’
He later posted: ‘What does @Bertie_Morgan11 have to say about his Bro breaking the rules. Silence from all the Morgans ! @piersmorgan.’
Sticking up for his sibling: Spencer Morgan said he did ‘not give a flying f*** about his brother attending the protest amid Lord Sugar’s concerns about social distancing
Brother Spencer wrote: ‘I’ll give you an answer. I do not give a flying f***’ and Lord Sugar replied: ‘Do you have to use that word flying …’
Stanley then reposted Lord Sugar’s tweet about the Senegal football team and said: ‘Ain’t this you big man? @Lord_Sugar.’
He replied: ‘Yes that was me. But what has that to do with social distancing.’
Piers had already tweeted that he was proud of his son for protesting for such an important cause.
He wrote: ‘If you think my son’s caused me any embarrassment by protesting about racial injustice & inequality in the wake of George Floyd’s horrific murder, you’re labouring under a massive misapprehension.
Family first: Piers in a throwback snap with sons Spencer, 26, Stanley, 22, and Albert, 19 and daughter Elise, eight
There for him: Piers had already tweeted about how proud he was of his son for protesting about racial injustice in the capital
‘He went back again yesterday, in a mask/gloves & social distancing. Proud of him.’
Two years ago, the BBC refused to sack Lord Sugar over the racist tweet.
Hundreds of people slammed The Apprentice host’s tweet and others called for his sacking in 2018 – but he initially failed to back down, criticising the ‘OTT’ reaction to a ‘bloody joke’.
The tweet was eventually removed 23 minutes later – but Lord Sugar insisted this was only because it was ‘interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people’.
However, 82 minutes after posting the initial message, he admitted the tweet was ‘misjudged’ and his ‘attempt at humour has backfired’, saying he was ‘very sorry’.
Now, a BBC insider has told The Sun: ‘Lord Sugar understands his mistake and has apologised for it. We’ve spoken to him and agreed to leave it there. It’s safe to say it’s going to be business as usual now.’
Lord Sugar also tweeted, to a follower who asked when he would apologise: ‘I can’t see what I have to apologise for… you are OTT… it’s a bloody joke’
The tweet was eventually removed 23 minutes later – but Lord Sugar insisted this was only because it was ‘interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people’
Some 82 minutes after posting the initial message, he admitted the tweet was ‘misjudged’ and his ‘attempt at humour has backfired’, saying he was ‘very sorry’
The corporation’s press office said earlier: ‘Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet, and he’s in no doubt about our view on this. It’s right he’s apologised unreservedly.’
But Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation said Lord Sugar ought to have known better.
Lord Sugar (pictured in Essex in February 2016) initially refused to apologise
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘This coming from one of Britain’s most respected business leaders, a man who was born in to an East End Jewish family and is proud of his roots, and a former Tottenham Hotspur chairman.
‘Someone, in other words, who ought to know about racist stereotypes. It shows we have a long way to go.
‘Any assumption made about somebody based purely on their race is racism. There’s no getting away from that.
‘Even when the perpetrators think they’re being funny – or with the misguided aim of being supportive even – it’s unacceptable. ‘
Labour MP Dawn Butler called for the BBC to cut ties with Lord Sugar. She tweeted a grab of a section titled ‘Treating everyone equally’ from the BBC’s Code of Conduct, which states they do not ‘tolerate discrimination of any kind’.
She wrote, referring to his catchphrase: ‘Take a look at the BBC’s Code of Conduct. It’s time the BBC pulled Lord Sugar into the boardroom and told him ‘You’re Fired’.’
Ms Butler had earlier said that she was going to write to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the BBC to call for an ‘immediate investigation’.
One Twitter user said: ‘He should be sacked for these outrageous racist comments. Hopefully BBC will take action’. Another tweeted: ‘Should be sacked from The Apprentice.’
Former England player Stan Collymore said: ‘Imagine a black peer saying something anti-Semitic about the Israeli football team at a World Cup. He’d have already been sacked, possibly arrested, and would be front page of every paper tomorrow.’
Lord Sugar’s initial message, posted at 10.39am, included an image of the Senegal squad on the pitch, edited to include handbags and sunglasses laid out on sheets.
The billionaire businessman wrote above the image: ‘I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi tasking resourceful chaps.’
But the post was then deleted – and Lord Sugar said: ‘Just been reading the reaction to my funny tweet about the guy on the beach in Marbella .
‘Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people. Frankly I can’t see that I think it’s funny. But I will pull it down if you insist.’
Workers are readying Lord Sugar’s £12million luxury yacht Lady A in Atsipades, Greece, today
However, 82 minutes after posting the first message, he tweeted: ‘I misjudged me earlier tweet. It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly my attempt at humour has backfired. I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry.’
A BBC spokesman said today: ‘Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet, and he’s in no doubt about our view on this. It’s right he’s apologised unreservedly.’
Earlier, he had tweeted to a follower who asked when he would apologise: ‘I can’t see what I have to apologise for… you are OTT… it’s a bloody joke.’
In another post in response to someone who had said it was ‘not an OK tweet’, Lord Sugar wrote: ‘why not, it is meant to be funny… for God’s sake.’
Sugar later told Mirror Online: ‘It was meant as a joke. Someone sent me the picture and I tweeted. People know I have fought against racism for years.
‘I sincerely didn’t think this could be interpreted in any other way other than funny. However, due to the comments on Twitter I pulled it down.’
Lord Sugar was criticised by Twitter followers for his comments, with one person asking: ‘What have you become?’ – and another saying: ‘Really, it was not funny at all’
MP Richard Burgon said the tweet was ‘proof that robes and riches do not make a role model’
Labour frontbencher Dawn Butler has reported Lord Sugar to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the BBC, calling for an investigation.
The MP said she was ‘very troubled’ by the tweet, adding: ‘Racism has no place in Parliament or society. Swift action must be taken.’
Labour MP Richard Burgon added: ‘As Trump cages kids and the Italian Government turns away boats of rescued migrants, this is Alan Sugar’s contribution. Proof that robes and riches do not make a role model.’
A senior Labour source added: ‘It’s quite clearly racially offensive and unacceptable and should be investigated by the relevant parliamentary authorities.’
Lord Sugar was made a Labour peer by Gordon Brown in 2009, but quit the party six years later and now sits as a crossbencher.
Some Twitter followers compared Lord Sugar to Roseanne Barr, the US sitcom star who was dropped by her network after an outcry following a racist tweet.
And BBC radio DJ Trevor Nelson tweeted: ‘Oh dear Lord Sugar, really. The joke is totally on him. Sad.’ He added: How does he not realise how offensive that is? If it were the Israeli team and someone did the equivalent I am sure he wouldn’t like it.’
BBC World News presenter Babita Sharma said it was a ‘shocking, vile tweet that you take a screen grab of because you know it will soon be deleted’.
Idrissa Gueye (left) of Everton and Cheikhou Kouyaté (right) of West Ham United are among the Senegal footballers who play in the Premier League
Kayode Modupe-Ojo, a British-Nigerian entrepreneur, tweeted: ‘If that Alan Sugar tweet was real then ladies and gentlemen… you just had a small insight into the type of ‘undercover racism’ black people face daily. As a black African man I am genuinely upset, offended and disappointing in you, Lord Sugar.’
Kelechi Okafor, a Nigerian-born actress who lives in London, added: ‘A simple ‘well done Senegal’ would suffice. But that intra-generational jealousy took hold of Lord Sugar and he had to undermine the players based on their blackness.’
Among the 23 players in the World Cup squad for Senegal, who beat Poland 2-1 yesterday, seven are based in England – including five in the Premier League.
They are Idrissa Gueye of Everton, Cheikhou Kouyaté of West Ham United, Alfred N’Diaye of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sadio Mané of Liverpool.
The other two Senegal players based in England are Badou Ndiaye and Mame Biram Diouf, who both play for Stoke City in the Football League Championship.
The picture Lord Sugar posted dates back to November 15, 2014, when Senegal beat Egypt 1-0 in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying Group G.
Mane, Kouyaté, Gueye and Diouf are pictured – along with Salif Sane, Papy Djilobodji, Papa Kouly Diop, Serigne Modou Kara Mbodji, Bouna Coundoul, Stephane Badji and Cheikh Mbengue.
Some Twitter users urged Lord Sugar to ‘stop’, while others made light of his Apprentice catchphrase ‘You’re Fired’
Lord Sugar, whose net worth is estimated at £1.15billion, was chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC from 1991 to 2001. He sold his remaining shares in the club in 2007.
His adviser on The Apprentice, Karren Brady, is chief executive of West Ham United FC and previously became the youngest managing director of a UK PLC aged 28 when Birmingham City FC was floated on the stock exchange.
His other Apprentice adviser, Claude Littner, was chief executive of Tottenham Hotspur from 1993 to 1988, while Lord Sugar was majority owner and chairman.
A spokesman for Lord Sugar told MailOnline at the time: ‘He won’t be making any further comment over and above the apology he made on Twitter.’
The Twitter post came as the BBC published a landmark report on career progression for its employees of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, in a drive for ‘substantial culture change’.
Anti-racism in football charity Kick It Out has been approached for comment today.
When police probed Lord Sugar for posting another ‘racist’ tweet
Lord Sugar was investigated by police five years ago after being accused of posting a racist Twitter message.
The Apprentice star posted a photograph of a crying Chinese child to his Twitter followers, joking that the youngster was upset after being told off for leaving Apple’s iPhone production line – a reference to the Asian factories where the phones are made.
The tweet prompted a single complaint to the Metropolitan Police from a Twitter user, who referred to the Labour peer as a ‘vile racist’.
Lord Sugar tweeted a photograph of a crying Chinese child in 2013, joking that the youngster was upset after being told off for leaving Apple’s iPhone production line
Police contacted the complainant twice, urging her to make a statement at a police station, which she eventually did.
Officers from Merseyside’s Hate Crime Investigation Unit took several days to decide whether a crime had been committed by the tweet.
However, the remark was in the end classed as a ‘hate incident’ – which meant no further action would be taken, although details were kept on file.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance condemned the police investigation at the time, insisting officers should not waste time chasing ‘ill-thought-out tweets’.
Circulating the light-hearted pictures of a child dressed in a water melon costume in September 2013, Lord Sugar wrote: ‘The kid in the middle is upset because he was told off for leaving the production line of the iPhone 5.’
Liverpool shop owner Nichola Szeto, whose husband and family are Chinese, complained to the Metropolitan Police Twitter account, saying: ‘I thought racism was illegal.’
A spokesman for Lord Sugar declined to comment at the time.
From selling car aerials to hosting The Apprentice: Rise of Alan Sugar
Alan Sugar was born in Hackney, East London, in 1947 and left school at 16 to work for the civil service.
He went on to flog car aerials from the back of a van before trying to get a job with the computer giant IBM and was rejected because he failed the aptitude test.
He founded Amstrad (short for Alan Michael Sugar Trading) in the same year year he married Ann – 1968, before earning his fortune from making hi-fi equipment.
The company became a household in home computers during the eighties, with the Amstrad PCW 8256 becoming a huge seller.
But in the nineties he made a serious of bad decisions including allowing his engineers to give up on the PenPad, which was set to include a pager.
As technology raced ahead of what Amstrad was offering, Sugar bought Tottenham Hotspur FC in 1991. He owned it for 10 years and said in 2010 that he wasted a decade ‘trying to do something great for that football club’.
He was knighted in the 2000 New Year Honours ‘for services to the Home Computer and Electronics Industry’. He donated £200,000 to the Labour Party in 2001.
Four years later, The Apprentice aired its first episode on the BBC and has now had 13 seasons.
In 2007 Sugar sold Amstrad to BSkyB and his wealth has been estimated at £830million.
Sugar became a life peer as Baron Sugar, of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney on 20 July 2009.
Sugar was listed as number five on the list of 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs by Richtopia in 2015.
In 2017 he was named the most powerful person in Essex by the Essex Power 100 list.