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Asian Awards founder hits out at Zac Goldsmith over car-crash Bollywood interview: ‘it felt like a slap in the face’

5 May 2016

12:13 PM

5 May 2016

12:13 PM

Oh dear. This week an awkward interview of Zac Goldsmith attending the Asian Awards has been doing the rounds on social media. In this, the Tory mayoral hopeful tells an interviewer at the event that he is a big Bollywood fan. Alas when pressed, he isn’t able to name a single Bollywood film or actor. While Goldsmith has since been ridiculed for his insincere answer, Paul Sagoo — the founder of the Asian Awards — has just published a blog post on why the incident demonstrates that Goldsmith ought not to be mayor.

In this, Sagoo says that he had told both Khan and Goldsmith’s campaign teams that their candidate could attend on two conditions:

‘I said exactly the same thing to both of them that should they attend they must do the following

  1. Be sincere to the awards and not use the opportunity to overly self-promote

  2. Do their research on the event, the attendees and the winners’


While he was happy with the behaviour of both candidates on the day of the awards, he changed his tune on seeing the Bollywood interview. While Khan made a well-informed speech when he presented the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, Goldsmith left before the main ceremony. On watching the now infamous clip, Sagoo says his issue with Goldsmith goes ‘far deeper’ than Zac not being able to name a single actor or movie:

‘I invited him to attend wholeheartedly to help him and his team have the same chances as Sadiq Khan and to show fairness to both parties. My only request is that he was “SINCERE” and that he did his research on the event and its attendees.’

Sagoo says Goldsmith’s ‘stereotypical’ answer was disappointing, as well as his use of the word ‘festival’ to repeatedly describe the event when it was actually an awards ceremony:

‘It is this lack of sincerity, preparedness and on the spot “blagging” that I found very disrespectful not just to me but to the entire South Asian diaspora. This told me everything I needed to know about how he would approach the role of London Mayor and it totally polarised my thinking.

I am genuinely unhappy about how this panned out as I did enjoy meeting Zac. I have worked very hard on these awards over the last 7 years and to have someone make a mockery of my audience is frankly insulting to me and to them. The role of Mayor is very important and it is based on emotion that most people will vote.’

Unsurprisingly, Sagoo is now backing Khan in the mayoral election. If his award attendees follow suit, then Goldsmith’s chances look even bleaker.


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