Sport

Woody Johnson: US ambassador to United Kingdom denies making racist comments

Share
President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort

The State Department's Inspector General opened a probe into Woody Johnson, who owns the New York Jets National Football League team and whom Trump chose as America's top envoy to the United Kingdom in 2017, after he raised the request with the United Kingdom secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell, according to multiple reports.

New York Jets players are reportedly angry over allegations of racist and sexist behavior by owner Woody Johnson. The story claims Johnson asked if a 2018 event for Black History Month would include "a whole bunch of Black people", questioned why the Black community wanted a month to celebrate Black history and said that Black fathers leaving their families was the "real challenge".

Three other sources told the television network that Johnson had repeatedly described women in offensive ways, repeatedly remarking about how pretty women looked when beginning his remarks at public events.

British officials have disputed that Mr Johnson mentioned any sporting events in his conversations with them, and the golf tournament was not awarded to Turnberry.

But the diplomat tweeted that the claims were "totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values".

Johnson, 73, purchased the Jets in 2000 for $635 million.

Asked about the allegation at a White House press conference on Wednesday, President Trump said he had never spoken to Mr Johnson about the matter.

"No, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that, about Turnberry", Mr Trump told reporters.

United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woody Johnson is seen after listening to speeches from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sir David Attenborough during the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit, which is being held this autumn in Glasgow, at the Science Museum on February 4, 2020 in London, England. The billionaire and Johnson & Johnson heir was investigated by the State Department watchdog.

CNN reported that a spokesperson said the State Department stands by Johnson.

It was not immediately clear when the inspection of the London embassy, which began in October 2019, would be complete, particularly since the work of the office was disrupted after Trump's abrupt firing in May of Inspector General Steve Linick, who was working on several politically sensitive investigations involving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Even routine inspector general inspector reports on embassy inspections can take months to complete, particularly if there are controversial aspects to them.

Share