The Red Bull Formula 1 team has suspended the membership of the Estonian driver, Jüri Vips, after it emerged he had behaved inappropriately on a Twitch live video; the Estonian used the n-word and made other derogatory comments.
Vips was playing a video game with another Red Bull junior team member, Liam Lawson, of which a Twitch live video was taken. Twitch is a live video platform that focuses on gaming.
During the game, Vips used the n-word for one of his opponents. In a second episode, Lawson asked Vips to wear a pink baseball cap, to which the Estonian responded that it was “gay colour”.
“Red Bull has suspended junior driver Juri Vips from all team duties with immediate effect, pending a full investigation into the incident,” the F1 team said in a statement. “As an organisation we condemn abuse of any kind and have a zero-tolerance policy to racist language or behaviour within our organisation.”
“I wish to unreservedly apologize for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today,” Vips said. “This language is entirely unacceptable and does not portray the values and principles that I hold. I deeply regret my actions and this is not the example I wish to set. I will cooperate with the investigation fully.”
The director of the Estonian Language Board, Ilmar Tomusk, told Postimees, an Estonian daily, that Vips’s use of language was regrettable. “Whether he did it by accident or on purpose, I can’t say, but a young, educated person shouldn’t use such words and should try to avoid this,” Tomusk said.
According to him, it’s a question of ethics and in our cultural space, using such expressions is improper, and the English-language expression Vips used was exceptionally offensive.
Postimees also reported that Vips’s outburst had gotten a lot of comments on the internet. Some people are condemning the Estonian F1 driver while others are standing up for him. Some, however, are just mocking him.
For example, the Irish low-cost airline, Ryanair, on Twitter shared a photo of actress Margot Robbie wearing a pink dress and commented, “Don’t show Juri Vips.”
In May, Vips became the first Estonian to drive a Formula One car at a grand prix weekend.