Baritone sues Berlin transport for discrimination

Baritone sues Berlin transport for discrimination


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2022

From the Guardian:

Jeremy Osborne’s experience with Berlin ticket inspectors is a less cheerful one. The dual national American-German opera singer is one of a string of people of colour who say they have been singled out and physically abused by controllers on the public transport system of a city that outwardly prides itself on its diversity and social liberalism. In a landmark case for Germany, he is currently suing the state-owned metro operator for discrimination over an incident in October 2020….

Read on here.


  • christopher storey says:

    Good for him . Someone needs to teach these thugs/little Hitlers a really hard lesson

    • MPMcGrath says:

      “Little Hitlers?” How melodramatic.

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      Did you actually read the article in the Guardian? It claims that the controllers were of Turkish ethnicity. That doesn’t make it okay (if what he claims is true), but it does make the “little Hitler” remark a tad stereotypical.

      Why don’t we wait for the court to determine what really happened and *then* get all outraged?

  • MacroV says:

    I lived in Prague for several years and its metro operates the same way. I never had a problem with the inspectors but among my colleagues it did seem as though those who weren’t White got targeted far more frequently. I never saw an actual altercation, fortunately.

    What I don’t like about this system is not only the potential for confrontation – I totally believe some riders can be abusive – but it’s not very tourist-friendly; do you really want to hit up people spending hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars on hotels, shows, tchochkes, etc., with fines for getting the Metro ticket thing wrong? Which is easy to do because those systems seem to be one of the last things to come with English instructions.

    • Una says:

      No, not its not very tourist-friendly at all. I’m not of colour, but I got a mouthful on arrival at the airport some years ago. Told me to go back to where I came from if I didn’t like it! So outrageous, it actually made me laugh! Then later I got fined on the metro system for having bought the wrong ticket as I don’t speak or read Czech, so I didn’t understand! So little English around. The ticket guys in the corridor on a Sunday morning were just plain awful –
      three blokes versus one woman like me! But would I sue them? Nah! Better things to do in life. Sorry to disappoint you all!

  • Anonymous says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all, knowing how intolerant the Berliners are. Try living there – it’s all around. Haven’t they learnt from history?
    Poor man in any case.

  • simply Berlin says:

    oh my gosh, he s in Berlin. what did he expect ? it s just – Berlin. that s all. someone should explain this to him ..

  • DanP says:

    During my first visit to Germany (which was also my first trip outside North America) I was given directions to the tram in a Mainz suburb to go to the city. I got there and found that someone had stuck chewing gum in the coin slot of the ticket machine so I couldn’t buy a ticket. The tram came and then I saw everyone getting on without showing a ticket or otherwise paying for the trip, so I just followed everyone else and got on and sat down, slightly confused. It was only afterwards it was explained to me how the system worked (coming from New York, the idea of a transit system that “trusts” its passengers to have paid was completely beyond me). I was lucky that I wasn’t picked up and jailed.

  • MPMcGrath says:

    Go for it. But beware. Damages are capped in Germany at very low levels. Nothing like getting rich by suing a coffee-selling company when you scald yourself by spilling your cup into your lap. His lawyers will cost 10x any damages.

  • Althea T-H says:

    May you win your case, Jeremy.