Newcastle University: Staff sacked for racism faults email autocorrect

Newscastle university worker sacked for sending a “racist” email calling his colleague “hash brown” has blamed autocorrect for changing her name.

Ollie de Planta de Wildenberg, 28, was fired four days into his full-time job as an administrator at the university for sending “perceived offensive, racial language”.

In the email, he greets his work mate with “hi hash brown”, which led to his dismissal. But he insists his sacking is “unfair” and he was unaware of what the email said until his manager spoke to him next day – blaming it on Outlook’s autocorrect.

Mr De Planta de Wildenberg, from Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, told Newcastle Chronicle: “Hash brown is not a racist term. It is a breakfast item.

“It is a bit weird thing to call someone that intentionally. Why would I do it? To class it as gross misconduct is just unbelievable. I didn’t realise initially just how serious they were taking it.

“The sanction bears no resemblance to what happened. I strenuously deny that this message had been sent deliberately.

“It was a typing error. There is nothing to suggest this is racist,” he said.

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