Horse racing pundit John McCririck labelled an Employment Tribunal’s decision to uphold his dismissal from Channel 4 as a “historic setback” for older workers.
The 73-year-old claimed his dismissal last year was age-driven as the Channel looked to employ younger workers.
However, the tribunal ruled that the controversial presenter alienated viewers through “bigoted and sexist” views.
McCririck insisted his sexist remarks and rude behaviour were part of a “pantomime villain” role that had been actively encouraged by Channel 4 to boost ratings.
After losing the £3m age discrimination case, McCririck said: “This is a historic setback for all employees in their thirties to their seventies.
“After such a landmark judicial verdict, my failed legal action ensures that anonymous suits and skirts, who control the media, numerous other businesses and the public sector, will now enjoy complete freedom to replace older employees whatever their unimpaired ability and merit.
‘I have let them all down…apologies to every one of them.”
The London Central Employment Tribunal panel said in its judgment that McCririck’s “arrogant and confrontational” style put off many viewers.
It said: “All the evidence is that Mr McCririck’s pantomime persona, as demonstrated on the celebrity television appearances, and his persona when appearing on Channel 4 Racing, together with his self-described bigoted and male chauvinist views were clearly unpalatable to a wider potential audience…
“Mr McCririck was dismissed because of his persona emanating from his appearances from celebrity television shows, and the associated press articles resulting from them, together with his appearances as a broadcaster on Channel 4 Racing where, as he accepted, his style of dress, attitudes, opinions and tic tac gestures were not in keeping with the new aims, and his opinions seen as arrogant and confrontational.”
McCririck had worked at Channel 4 for nearly 30 years before being axed last year as the broadcaster unveiled a new racing presenting team headed by 42-year-old Clare Balding.