(Link to first post: Todt & Saillant: le dénouement part 1)
On January 16 2015 I received an answer to my request that the FIA open an Ethics inquiry about Gerard Saillant’s trip to my hospital to interfere with my employment. Here is that answer (click on it to enlarge – open it in another tab so it’s easier to follow along):
I think it might be useful to just consider this letter, point by point. As I mentioned in my last post, I think this letter is illustrative of just how detached from the real world the FIA hierarchy is.
The author is Todt’s chief of staff. He was previously in charge of sports-related stuff on Fillon’s (ex-French PM) staff. I have never met him. He would appear to be part of a wave of ex-political types hired by Todt, apparently desirous to be surrounded by people felt to be able to help his unquenched political ambitions.
1) I do not PRETEND to be anything, my dear Jean. I WAS outraged, and now am left with only residual nausea. But really, sir – how Putin-esque can your language be? Private and informal? Do you really take yourself seriously? I will comment no further on this point. The ridicule and scorn of those who will now see it suffice largely.
2) For someone who worked under a Prime Minister, Xavier, you’re not doing a good job of advising Jean about the not particularly difficult-to-fathom notion of what the word PRIVATE actually means. I’m glad you’re a chief of staff and not a judge! Private in this sense, Messieurs, is meant to distinguish those aspects of my life that are the proper purview of my EMPLOYER, and therefore subject to a specific set of rules and regulations, from those that are nobody’s business but mine. It has nothing to do (this would be laughable if it weren’t so pitiful) with how large the AUDIENCE of that activity might be. This is not a question of 4 people at a dinner party being private, but a blog being public. Again, if you actually MEAN what you write about this, it’s totally shocking that people with such flimsy notions of fundamental principles are in any sort of position of responsibility.
3) I’m rather surprised that this private and informal (can’t help the chuckles!) visit concerned a subject about which I’d not written for 6 MONTHS. Yep. Nothing about Michael since June 2014. And the visit took place in December. WTF? I guess the FIA is a great lumbering machine, and that it took time to book the tickets for Gerard. OR . . . this was about something else. Something rather more contemporaneous to the visit. Hmmmm. Wonder what that could’ve been? Grin crosses face. Smug grin.
4) OK, I’m starting to feel bad now. I think you should have written to me in French, because it’s impossible for me to imagine that you don’t know that the word, and process of, DIAGNOSIS involves examining a patient, taking a history, doing examinations and considering a range of differential diagnoses. Why, oh why, do you conflate what I wrote about Michael with DIAGNOSIS? I surely didn’t, and if you’d bothered to read, and tried hard to understood, my writing, you’d know that. My blog has 1.5 million readers (I know, right?!) and almost none of THEM were confused.
5) Allegations? I’m growing weary of your consistent misuse of my language. I considered a range of possiblities when discussing Michael’s situation. Nothing more and nothing less. By the way, just so it shouldn’t be total loss, Jean, here’s the definition of “allegation”:
“a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof”
Are you SURE you’re talking about Michael here, and not something ELSE I might have said???
6) While we’re still on this paragraph, rich with confusion, I’m not clear where Jean Todt was mandated by anyone, as president of the FIA, to become involved in what was written about Michael Schumacher (as far as I know, no longer under Todt’s employ for quite a number of years now). Did the FIA Senate decide that this was worthy of the FIA’s time and money? Was this a whim of the president, or did the proper structures approve the funds for the dossier, for the hundreds of hours of secretary time to constitute it, for Saillant’s train and hotel? Did the General Assembly? Do you even realise that using corporate funds for private tasks (yeah, PRIVATE, and here I’m using it correctly) is ILLEGAL??? This is what your ethics committee was requested to consider. Your utter blindness to this speaks volumes as to your sense of good governance. Shame on you.
7) Because Michael was never my patient, the usual tenets of medical ethics, which involve the relation of the patient to the health care system and its constituent components, do not apply. My relation to the person next to me on a bus or on an airplane is governed by ETHICS, not MEDICAL ethics despite the fact that I happen to be a physician! Thus the same rules apply to what I write as to anyone else: as long as what ANYONE says publicly is neither slanderous, libellous, or dangerous, and conforms to very few other exceptions (eg, holocaust revisionism is illegal speech in France), HE OR SHE IS FREE TO SAY IT.
8) My past position at the FIA is what it is. If it increases my readership, so be it. On the other hand you again are using words you don’t understand. Slander is defined as “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation”. Find where I was slanderous. I dare you.
9) You and Gerard have your reasons for wanting me fired. In fact, you actually fired me! We’ve understood that for some time now. But let’s be clear about something: you might not like what I write, but there is absolutely nothing unethical about my blog. You, on the other hand, with your “discuss with a fellow of the medical community” line are again being disingenuous, to not say mendacious.
10) Professional ethics authorities? You keep repeating yourself. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MEDICAL ETHICS. I don’t fancy myself a journalist (I don’t drink enough!), but what I write on my blog would involve journalistic ethics rather than those you so conveniently (and wrongly) obsess over.
11) As for your closing, here’s an analogy:
you : sincere = me : batman
There, guess that just about takes care of it.
Sound of grimy hands being wiped on overalls. Sound of overalls being burned!
I’ll post a bit about the “dossier” Jean had the FIA assemble within the next few days, then I’m done with this, and with them.