A retired construction worker from Dublin has reportedly won an undisclosed, out-of-court payment from Carnival Cruises, having brought a civil action against the shipping company. John Wolfe (74) brought the civil action against the company because he was so offended by the jokes told by comedians on two of the company’s cruise ships.

According to reports on the Northern Blog, part of the Guardian site, Wolfe said the jokes told by comedians on cruise ships stereotyped the Irish. The Dubliner found them deeply offensive and they left him humiliated.

He brought a case again Carnival Plc, “under race relations legislation as well as the European Union's race directive - a ruling which sets out the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.”

Five years ago, Wolfe complained to P&O, the Carnival subsidiary, after he and his wife, Joan, saw a comedian’s show on the cruise ship Oriana. They brought a claim against Carnival Plc.

The company told the Wolfes that these stereotypical jokes had been banned on their cruise ships and gave the couple $1,578 (£1,000) in vouchers to spend.

The couple was “surprised and upset” to hear similar jokes during their next cruise with P&O in 2008, when they travelled to the Caribbean on board the Artemis.

Read more: Australian bricklayer employment ad says “No Irish” need apply

Wolfe’s case was heard at the Manchester Civil Justice center where he represented himself. The case was reportedly settled out of court, although P&O declined to comment on the settlement. The Guardian believe it was “a five-figure sum”.

The P&O spokesperson said, “We can confirm that this case has been resolved amicably out of court to the satisfaction of both parties.”

They also reported that Wolfe’s “claim that he had been a victim of racial discrimination was struck out by the court.”

District Judge Anthony Harrison said the case centered around the question of whether Carnival was “vicariously liable" for the jokes told by the comedians who they hired. Carnival argued that the entertainers were employed by a subcontractor.

Carnival also claim that as the incidents took place outside the United Kingdom waters, they do not fall under these laws. They believe that the initial vouchers they gave to Wolfe should have precluded from him complaining further.

Currently P&O are also in the press in relation to a sexual harassment case in Australia. USA Today reports that a passenger of the Pacific Jewel cruise ship has filed for sexual harassment. This case also revolves around on board, on stage entertainment.

Kate Strahan says that a member of the crew judging the passenger singing contest told her he could see her underwear through her dress, made comments about her dress, and told her she could “cougar” him anytime. These comments were made in front of 1,200 other passengers.

P&O are reportedly using the same argument in this case, that because the incident took place outside Australian waters the laws do not apply.


A P&O cruise ship just like the one where Wolfe heard what he believed to be racist jokes told twiceGoogle Images