Max: You’ve Got to Come Clean About the Nazi Thing
Yesterday, Max Mosley found a friend.
It was only one friend,
But it was a powerful friend: the representative to the FIA of the United Arab Emirates.
Nonetheless, it may be the biggest problem the FIA’s president has had, to date.
You see, the endorsement of the UAE makes it no longer possible to ignore the element which Mosley most needs ignored:
(more after the jump)
Mosley is the president of the FIA, the sanctioning body for Formula One and other international forms of motorsport. He has been caught in a lurid sex scandal, one described as a Nazi-style orgy involving five prostitutes,” in London. Mosley has denied nothing – perhaps because it would be impractical, as a British tabloid posted a video of his activity on its website, though the actual event was described as lasting several hours – and has instead argued that the newspaper invaded his privacy. Despite calls from a number of manufacturers and Formula One entrants, Mosley has refused to resign, instead stating that he will ask the FIA’s governing body to decide whether to retain him at their June 3rd meeting in Paris.
But, Mosley has a big problem. He was playing sex games that involved a Nazi sexual fantasy, his father was a leading Nazi, and he’s now getting support from people who are pledged to the destruction of Israel. The UAE has been linked to support of Hamas, a terrorist organization, and participates in the Arab League boycott of Israel.
This is not good for Mosley.
Yesterday, Mosley’s strategy seemed to get a boost when Mohammed ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates lined up behind him, stating essentially all of the Mosley talking points. Said he: “I think it has been used for the wrong reasons. [Referring to Great Britain, t]his is something that is allowed there. I am a full supporter. If someone wants to use this for the wrong reasons, it is not acceptable. He did not commit anything that weakens the FIA. We as members of the FIA elected him.”
But, then consideration of the source began to set in. The connection between Mosley’s Nazi foreplay and father and the UAE’s public policy is rather hard to ignore: anti-Semiticsm.
As scandals go, though, the FIA seems to have actually managed the seemingly impossible: it’s come up with an encore even more fascinating that the serial soap opera it presented last year featuring McLaren’s theft of Ferrari secrets. That involved the FIA only to the extent that Mosley originally papered over the problem, then became – like Captain Renault in the movie Casablanca – “shocked” to discover that McLaren had not only done the crime, but that it had been top management’s decision to do it and the lie about it.
Now, however, it’s not the competitors that are in the spotlight. It’s the FIA itself.
And, it’s got a problem.
You see, Mosley’s got a point, at a personal level.
His privacy was, in fact, invaded. He can stand on that, and is.
But, the tipping point may be the Nazi connotations of Mosley’s conduct, a point which Mosley has not addressed and which, in the end, may be his largest problem. Having support from the UAE may not be much of an advantage if this becomes the central issue.
When BMW and Mercedes-Benz issued a joint statement calling for the FIA to take direct action against Mosley, he was quick to respond in a manner that very directly pointed to the involvement, actual and rumored, of both companies in Nazi activities prior to and during World War Two.
Mosley’s father was a British Nazi, a friend of Adolf Hitler, and the head of the British Nazi party prior to World War Two.
Those who have called for Mosley’s resignation, or ouster, have not articulated with clarity the reason for doing so. There are five possibilities:
First, Mosley was caught engaging in lurid sexual activity in private by someone who apparently figured out a way to make a buck by taping it and selling it to a tabloid newspaper.
Second, Mosley was stupid enough to be so caught.
Third, regardless of whether Mosley is right or wrong about his privacy having been invaded, Formula One can’t take the heat of having the scandal associated with getting so caught.
Fourth, the scandal will cause Bernie Ecclestone to lose a lot of money.
Fifth, the Nazi connotations of the event disclose an underlying adherence to principles which are antithetical to civilized society, such as anti-Semitism, adherence to dictatorial political policies, and the notion of an Aryan super race.
Mosley was almost instantaneous in responding to the BMW Mercedes-Benz statement by invoking the Nazi past of those companies, real or imagined. It is a sore spot for both. The family that holds the controlling interest in BMW has recently been the subject of documentaries linking their wealth to Hitler and his regime. Though the accuracy of the documentaries has been disputed, it’s fairly easy to implicate most German industries in some involvement, at least at an antecedent level, with the National Socialist Party. After all, that party completely dominated German culture for a decade.
And, of course, the links between Daimler-Benz and the Nazis are undeniable. They were displayed on racetracks throughout Europe during the 1930’s, with dominating results.
The UAE support may just serve to highlight the undercurrent in the Mosley scandal, one he’s probably not going to be able to address.
But, anti-Semitism is something Formula One has never before had to publicly address. Mosley has now made it front and center as an issue and the support of the UAE only makes the issue more explosive.
One would not be wise to bet that Bernie tolerates Max until June 3rd.