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Never mind the bollocks, it’s Sir Richard Branson

May 2, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Virgin Atlantic supremo Richard Branson has taken issue with his own IT department after he sent an email including the good old English term “bollocks” – only to have the email bounce back because the IT system considered the word offensive.

Branson, 63, dealt with the matter in vivid style on his blog, recalling a few memories as he did so.

Richard Branson in the original Virgin record store in Oxford Street, London

Richard Branson in the original Virgin record store in Oxford Street, London

This is how he tells it:

I emailed Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Craig Kreeger the other day. Within my note I used the word “bollocks”. Then I received a bounce back notifying me the email couldn’t be delivered.

“Unfortunately it has not reached the intended recipient(s) due to the use of language which is deemed as profane, vulgar or offensive.”

I pointed out to Craig that we once won a court case that proved the word ‘bollocks’ was not rude or profane.

A Nottingham record store displayed The Sex Pistols’ masterpiece, Never Mind the Bollocks, and the police took us to court, claiming ‘bollocks’ was a derivative of ‘testicles’.

The person who was defending us recommended that I contact a linguistics expert. So I rang up a linguistics professor at Nottingham University and explained the situation.

He said: “What a load of rubbish. Bollocks has nothing to do with balls.” In fact, he told us, it was a nickname given to priests in the 18th century.

The professor turned out to be a priest himself and appeared as an expert witness in court with us – wearing his dog collar. Of course, we were acquitted. So actually, The Sex Pistols album title was Never Mind the “Priests,” Here’s the Sex Pistols.

Craig loved the story, and is getting his IT team to correct the email block so we can all continue to use the word bollocks in the future. Have you ever fell foul of an overzealous IT system?

Edited by : Peter Needham

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