Oxford don who quoted Voltaire accused of racial discrimination against black chef

Historians in the News

An Oxford University history don has been accused of racial discrimination for comparing a black chef to a character in a book.

Dr David Parrott described New College Oxford's former deputy head chef Gregory Lewis as 'Mr Pangloss himself' during the cook's unsuccessful interview for promotion in 2007. Mr Pangloss is a character in Candide, the satire written by the French philosopher Voltaire.

Mr Lewis, who is of Afro-Caribbean origin and was later dismissed by the college, claimed at an Employment Tribunal, that the reference to Pangloss - ridiculed by Voltaire for his over-optimistic view that we live in 'the best of all possible worlds' - was racially charged as it implied he was lazy and unoriginal....

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