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'He struck the right note, so I borrowed some of his phrases' - EasyJet chief apologises after staff video copies Taoiseach's speech

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EasyJet (Gareth Fuller/PA)

EasyJet (Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

EasyJet (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Imitation is said to be a form of flattery, but UK airliner EasyJet has had to apologise after it plagiarised Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a motivational address to staff.

The video was sent to pilots and cabin crew as they were asked to make sacrifices in the coming weeks due to the coronavirus crisis. It mimicked the Taoiseach’s address to the nation on St Patrick’s day.

In the clip, EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew repeated Varadkar’s gambit that “this is a time none of us will ever forget”. He went on to echo the Taoiseach’s call that people will tell their grandchildren about the crisis and how “everyone stayed at home to protect each other”.

He continued with his address, replicating the Taoiseach’s speech throughout.

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Peter Bellew. Photo: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

Peter Bellew. Photo: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

Peter Bellew. Photo: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

A video online has spliced the separate speeches in to one clip, highlighting how consistent they are with each other. Some sections of the speeches are identical.

In a communiqué to staff Bellew apologised, before praising Varadkar.

According to the Guardian, he told colleagues: “Some of you have spotted similarities between the message I did last week and a recent speech by the Irish Taoiseach, Leo VAradkar. I can only hold my hands up and apologise.

“I thought the Taoiseach struck exactly the right note and it really resonated in my mind with what we are going through, so I borrowed some of his phrases in my recent message to cabin crew and pilots, which I realise now I should not have done.

“I would like to say sorry to the Taoiseach and to all of you. I will write all of my own speeches in future.”

Online Editors