Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Hamilton criticises Marko over disputed quote

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has criticised Helmut Marko following reports of comments allegedly made by the Red Bull motorsport consultant referencing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

A report claimed Marko said “some drivers are distracted, talking about lives which matter”. It cited German broadcaster RTL as the source for the quote, but this has not been verified.

Hamilton reacted strongly to the alleged quote, writing on social media: “Helmut, it deeply saddens me that you consider fighting for equal treatment of black people and people of colour a distraction. I’m actually quite offended.”

He referred to past occasions when he was targeted by racist fans, such as during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2008.

“A distraction for me was fans showing up in blackface to taunt my family on race weekends,” he said. “A distraction for me was the unnecessary and additional adversity and unfair treatment I faced as a child, teen, and even now, due to the colour of my skin.

“I hope this speaks volumes to the few people of colour you do have on your team, about your priorities and how you view them. Wake up. This sport needs to change.”

The publication which published the alleged quote subsequently deleted the story without explanation or comment.

Update: The publisher of the story later admitted it was false and issued an apology to Marko and Red Bull

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 92 comments on “Hamilton criticises Marko over disputed quote”

    1. Reacting to a unverified source? Red Bull will have far more minority staff on board than Mercedes thanks to the Honda tie up.

      1. Talking about an unverified source and than throwing in some far-fetched assumption… I reckon you don’t have access to employee stats of either of the companies. Moreover, I would assume (!) that the majority of Honda’s employees is of Japanese origin. Being one of the more populous countries worldwide, I wouldn’t call them a minority from an international perspective… You might want to check your “bias alert system” there… Last but not least, being a minority is not necessarily the problem (as such), racism is! Let’s focus on that please and let’s try to keep the discussion as factual as possible —there’s enough trouble as it is already with people, even those in particular offices, making bold, unsupported statements…

        1. Search, there’s more bias in your statement than there ever was in Joseph’s. Lewis has been on about more diversity in F1 for ages. Surely that should also include Asians as well? And in F1 circles, those Japanese engineers are a minority but there factually would be more Japanese at Honda than Mercedes. Then there’s the racism angle. Maybe ask some of those Japanese engineers for some of their racism stories. Their voice isn’t of lower value than anyone else.

          1. That’s the problem. Racism is not limited to black people. Racism as such is a disgrace for every color, group, belief, etc.
            It’s the brutal murder of Floyd that triggered the ant racism protests. But it should not been monoolized by one color.

          2. Comments like these have kept me from posting many times. I’ve reread my post a number of times. There’s no bias in there —nor was there ever intended to be— only assumptions which I clearly earmarked. I never for a minute suggested that there’s no racism toward Japanese or whomever else for that matter. I vehemently object to any form of racism. I was raised in a progressive, enlightened way in a very free-minded part of the world. I raise my kids to respect every human —and all animals and planet Earth too, for that matter— in the best possible way. So please refrain from assuming any bias on my behalf.

            1. You can’t find bias in your own posts obviously, because the bias prevents you from seeing it during the analysis.

              And people don’t assume it, they see it.

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        17th June 2020, 14:28

        «Zaitokukai, (…) meaning Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi, is an ultra-nationalist and far-right extremist political organization in Japan, which calls for an end to state welfare and alleged privileges afforded to Zainichi Koreans.»

      3. Thats th point isnt it? RedBull has more diversity than most teams so he is correct. Marko needs to think about what he says!

      4. You obviously know nothing of the race issues in Japan – a country where almost 98% of the population is Japanese. There will not be a single black or white Honda employee at the races. Look up the treatment Carlos Ghosn recently received in Japan, when Nissan couldn’t afford to sack him.

        1. Generally speaking those issues are attributed to Japan’s “justice system”. I don’t think that’s necessarily racism at its peak, but is actually a publicised look into how criminals/suspects are treated. I believe they can detain you for close to a month, but “re-arrest” you on another charge before the detention period is up, and then it starts the clock again.

    2. Well, sure hope they have a good talk on the first day in Spielberg to clear the air – if he did say this, well, that doesn’t seem supriprising sadly, but what Hamilton said was well articulated. Of course, dr. Marko might not have said it, in which case Hamilton still has a good point, but would be good to have them go on air together and confirm dr. Marko agrees with Hamilton’s view in this, and how he wants all of his team and people to be (harshly, as it is dr. Marko) treated according to their input and work in the team, not on any other factors.

    3. Hm, RTL did have and published an interview with Marko (10 days ago) which seems like it might be the source, but that interview (German) as published doesn’t include these lines. It IS possible that RLT wisely left that out of what was published, but that begs the question, where did the person who published about it get the quote from. And where did Hamilton hear it?

    4. Even if it is fake, it says a lot about Helmut that we all think ‘yeah he couldve said that’.

      1. I must say that comment is not very fortunate.

    5. I’m starting to think that Lewis’s discrimination story was just his imagination.
      Really can’t believe that Albon had less racist stories than Lewis, yet he still had a decency to called himself privilege.

      1. As Albon himself has stated (when he too spoke up to support BlackLivesMatter), he grew up in a very protected environment and never really had to deal with racism – something you can afford when your parents are as rich as Albon’s @ruliemaulana.

        1. @bascb He actually said he was being treated differently because of his colour. Not because he was less rich than other drivers.

          1. Yes, Hamilton has clearly been subject of racist comments, attetudes etc, because of the colour of his skin @ruliemaulana.

            Albon mentioned that he never really noticed discrimination, and added that it is quite possible that because he grew up in a protected environment – because his wealthy parents could afford to shield him from any problems, including being discriminated against for his tone of skin.

            1. @bascb The thing is, if this sport was racist and driver colour matters, then obviously Albon should’ve had experience racist incident as much as Lewis. Regardless how much money their parent has.

              So if Albon didn’t get any incident at all then there’s less credibility of Lewis claims.

            2. Sigh, you are really argumenting this @ruliemaulana? Go look back at the spanish “fans” doing monkey noises and wearing blackface back in 2008. And many, many more occasions.

              Also, Albon gets into F1 over a decade after Hamilton entered. In between we also had Wehrlein, so maybe the world has moved on at least a bit? And isn’t as outspoken about their rasicm anymore?

              Albon mentioned this because he wanted to explain why he had not spoken out on his own. Not because he was disputing the fact that racism exists in the world, and in F1. What he said does not diminish the credibility of that at all. It just explains that he feels fortunate to have not had so much trouble with it.
              Did you ever see Wehrlein claiming it was no issue? Why not, do you think?

            3. @bascb You make a good case about world has getting better. That’s why I hate some people still talking about colour while the problem was injustice.

              There’s asian, black and latinos cops that watching and abetting the killing of George Floyd too.

            4. I do not really get the point of that last comment @ruliemaulana. Did anyone mention that racism against (black) people was only done by white people? And that ONLY white cops kill (black) people?

              The issue is structural, institutional racism. Cop violence is an aspect of that. But it is far more than just that. And black people seem to be suffering worst from being discriminated against in many places. Clearly in the USA. But in the UK, in the whole of Europe, in the middle east, heck we even saw it clearly in China (with people China took in to try and appease African countries thrown out of their homes in March).

              Injustice that spawns from looking at one’s skin is the defenition of what discrimination based on race IS. It is exactly what BLM protests started from.

              Floyd getting killed was the drop. But in the weeks before that, we had the Aubrey case (ex policeman and his son lynching jogger), the Brianna Taylor case (killed by cops who busted the wrong appartment and shot her) and since we’ve seen the man shot in his back when running away by police too.

              Yes, It is highly likely that the world of F1 has changed for the better since Hamilton started in motorsports. Maybe motorsports in general has. But that does not mean the issue is not still there.

            5. @bascb Race is pseudoscience. We all are human race. If we talk about colour, the inhumane action to Floyd lose its merit because some of them are people of colour. If black live matter, then why there’s no international rage when a black cop killed by protester?

              What colour is it Lewis anyway? Gray? How much blackness is black?

              This is why talking about colour was wrong. It’s only create division not solution. The main problem, police brutality and police immunity doesn’t get resolved.

            6. @ruliemaulana, I know that race as such does not exist. But racism DOES exist. And it severely affects lives, but it affects “black” people, like Lewis, a lot more painfully than it hurts me, as a white guy.

              There is a lot of social inequality too. It is exasperated by discrimination hurting some people and making it more likely they stay in the worse social circumstances. Police brutality is proven to affect those of lower social standing more AND it affects those who are not white more, again multiplying the effect for black people in the USA, but also in Europe

            7. @bascb Okay. I get your concern. Thanks for this conversation. But as a yellow-ish brown guy, let me say to you that you don’t inherit any sin whatsoever just because you’re white. Cheers.

            8. The issue is structural, institutional racism

              @bascb could you give us an example of this please?

            9. @frasier – Off course I could. But since you ask, when the examples are all around us, I don’t think you want to see them. If you do, just open your eyes, look around (possibly outside of any “bubble” you might be in) and see them.

            10. @bascb

              Off course I could

              but tellingly you haven’t

              the examples are all around us

              but they’re not, that’s why you can’t give me an example.

              Don’t feel bad, I’m just instructing you to give the matter some critical thought instead of all the received ‘wisdom’ that tells you the system is at fault. Have another go, think deeper and tell me where your version of reality comes from.

            11. @bascb let me try that one again, the quote marks went horribly wrong..

              Off course I could

              but tellingly you haven’t

              the examples are all around us

              Don’t feel bad, I’m just instructing you to give the matter some critical thought instead of all the received ‘wisdom’ that tells you the system is at fault. Have another go, think deeper and tell me where your version of reality really comes from

            12. No @frasier. The issue is not at all that I can’t point to examples. If I give you one example, or maybe 4, will you then tell me that doesn’t “prove” it’s systemic? And when I show you 20 examples, you will most likely argue it is not institutional. And if I give a hundred examples? Probably some of they are going to be too old for you to be considered?

              Sorry, but if you are older than maybe 7-8 years and did not recognize any signs, you must have been brought up quite shielded from the world. Instead of asking me (or anyone) for examples, just venture out in the world, ask PoC about their experience of life. Take responsibility for yourself instead of requesting me to show you the world.

            13. @bascb

              The problem with your’s and many other’s view of the world is that it is emotional, not rational. The reason you’re frustrated at not finding an example is that you’ve allowed your opinions to be assigned to you by team cheer leaders, typically various sectors of the media.

              There is no systemic rascism, there are only racist people. Actually 100% of humans are racists, it’s a survival instinct, beware of strangers. In the modern world most people have learnt that is an irrational reaction and suppress it, but we think we know the truth, ‘they’ are bad. Here’s an example using humour

              https://twitter.com/ryanlongcomedy/status/1272534112327393288

              It’s all in the distorted message. There are no state sanctioned rules in that say PoC can or should be treated differently, it’s all in the mind, and the media are experts at manipulating your thoughts. The far left and the far right are perhaps the exceptions, and they are the unacceptable face of dogma and extremism, difficult to change them, they seek to control only through violence and disruption.

            14. @frasier – I have no trouble finding examples. I have chosen not to indulge in your strategy of letting ME find arguments to prove reality. What if instead of this fruitless discussion you seem to enjoy, YOU bring me prove that there is no racism, discrimination etc. that black people are struggling with?

              Have you even tried?

              The point is not about what the rules say. The point is that despite those rules discrimination is engrained into our society and bureaucracy. Feeding off that naturally occuring effect that people have preoccupations about “strangers”.

            15. @bascb

              It must be frustrating for you that you cannot point at any examples of systematic discrimination against PoC, but I hope in having this conversation you’ll be a little more critical in your thought process in future. No offence meant, just a bit of advice about researching what you are being told and why.

              But anyway, regardless of whether you reply, that’s me done.

            16. @frasier I can only hope that you take that “advice” and go and learn something about the world.

              If you are unable to find examples yourself (why else would you ask me for them) you must be utterly isolated in this world. Either for real. Or by ignoring things you do not want to see that are easily found by opening your eyes.

      2. Are you talking about Hamilton’s rise up through ranks from karting? If so then there are many of us who must have imagined it too. Or do you think his racist nickname (given to him by a senior figure within British motorsport) isn’t really racist?

      3. @ruliemaulana

        I’m starting to think that Lewis’s discrimination story was just his imagination.

        I really don’t know how you can say this. I remember seeing people with disgusting black face and “Hamilton family” t-shirts on multiple occasions. There were several news reports at the time too. To say that he imagined all this is beyond a joke.

      4. Really? This must be one of the most offensive comments I have seen on a discussion board. The article mentions the “blacked up” fans during Spanish testing, even if you can’t remember it. It’s people like you that are the problem (is that clear enough for you?).

        Wrt Marko, factor in that Red Bull in majority owned by Chalerm Yoovidhya.

      5. We know Lewis Hamilton has told the truth. You’ve just joined the legion of deniers who pop up at every opportunity whenever racial issues are mentioned.

    6. I am saddened by the number of insensitive comments I saw from F1 fans across all platforms. This makes me rethink my support for this sport, which I have been following for 20 years. It disturbs me to be affiliated with a sport that has such a toxic fan base.

    7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      17th June 2020, 12:22

      Marko’s known for making some… questionable quotes but if it’s not verified 100% from him, jumping at him seems a bit of a poor idea. I support Hamilton calling this stuff out – he has the platform to do so, but at least be sure of who you’re going after before you do it.

      1. @rocketpanda

        > some… questionable quotes

        Short-sighted I would say

    8. Triggered Lewis. Lewis “Karen” Hamilton, how dumb? Ham has every right to express his opinion, doesn’t make him right be default. Where did this alleged quote condones racism? Ham mentions the black guy on Rb’s pit crew yet disregards that this “unicorn” is working for RB and not merc or any other team, dumb remark. Frankly RB, judging from tv, is the most cosmopolitan team on the grid. On blackface, that incident in Spain, I think talking about this incident is what Lewis can contribute to the conversation, I had no knowledge of it

    9. Really…F1 should not be the venue for all this BLM promotion. I am heartily sick of it. Even Anthony Hamilton is now talking up the prospect of Lewis kneeling at the next F1 race event. This has gone too far. If you want to protest then take it somewhere else.

      1. Sonny Crockett
        17th June 2020, 13:51

        What?!

        F1 is exactly the sort of venue that BLM should be promoted and Lewis is exactly the man to do it.

        Your comment says more about you than it does about Lewis.

      2. So where do we take it @kenji? Sport is one of the most powerful platforms a person can speak from, it’s also been the place of some of the most heinous acts of racism. So imo Hamilton is right in speaking out as a prominent sportsperson at this time.

      3. I can guarantee you aren’t as sick of this conversation as those affected by racism are sick of racism.

        1. “I can guarantee you aren’t as sick of this conversation as those affected by racism are sick of racism.”

          Exactly @petebaldwin!

      4. The last few weeks have really been shocking to me on just how many people are racist like this guy above. That “this has no business in x” thing has come up a lot. You protest everywhere or there is no point and Hamilton is uniquely qualified. I really am quite proud of him.

    10. Helmut Marko has always come off to me as an extremly unpleasant person, this just further confirms it.

      1. And how do you feel now, after Lewis (once again) has deleted his post because
        it has become clear Marko never said such thing?
        Is Lewis the unpleasant person now?

        @keith
        Update the new facts plz

        1. Lewis basically made an assumption about a person without evidence.

          Ironic cos that’s the thing he is supposedly fighting against it.

        2. He’s human and has emotions and a phone right there. He’s had to deal with garbage like Marko his whole life and probably has no patience for it any more.

          1. @darryn keep labeling those that disagree with you online as “RAYCIS” or “GARBAGE”, that helps the discussion. Its also very productive. Almost as much as the admin deleting any posts that dare not virtue signal alongside their white knight brigade.

            Ive lost a lot of respect for the f1 world. Its embarassing to see random british tax evaders all of a sudden call my countries society raycis. Lewis is a many-many-millionaire, jet setting tax dodger. I dont really care what he has to say. I actually live here. He has no clue.

            Go ahead admin, delete my post for not conforming to your groupthink.

            1. There is no discussion on this. I’m done with people like you.

            2. Darryn Smith, to your last comment, you’re a caricature of a thinking being.

    11. Has Helmut paid any attention to Lewis’ career? Surely he should have noticed by now that things people are tempted to call distractions for Lewis, generally aren’t?

      Between the COVID camp and this, Helmut has been on the wrong side of history all year. It’s a good thing other people at Red Bull are decent.

      1. @AlaC…One can look through the Red Bull past and find Marko guilty of many questionable statements and actions and I have always been a outspoken critic of him and Horner, to the latter, in a lesser degree. That said however i support the fact that Marko has the same rights as every individual to express his opinions freely. In the current climate anyone who dares promote that right is vilified beyond belief. These activities have no place in F1.

        1. William Jones
          17th June 2020, 14:16

          “I can say anything I want because freedom of speech”

          “Stop saying those things, you’re vilifying me”

          1. @William Jones…Is that your best shot? What on earth has F1 got to do with the BLM movement. Are black/coloured people discriminated against by the FIA,F1 teams,Liberty media et al? No, I don’t think so. Look around and see people of many different ethnic groups are actively involved in many different areas. Freedom of speech is a basic right. You may not like what you hear…so what? You are always free to respond.

            1. You’re the same Kenji who posted at 13:24 above yeah? There’s not two of you….?

              Within a few hours, you’ve posted the following two comments:

              1 – “F1 should not be the venue for all this BLM promotion. I am heartily sick of it.”

              2 – “Freedom of speech is a basic right. You may not like what you hear…so what?”

              I’m not sure how you can marry up those two statements – you seem to be arguing against your own point. If the 2nd quote is accurate, then “so what” if you’re sick of hearing about BLM? Lewis can say whatever he wants. If the 1st quote is accurate, freedom of speech clearly isn’t, in your view, a basic right and if people won’t like what you are going to say, you shouldn’t’ say it.

            2. William Jones
              18th June 2020, 10:40

              I don’t know Ken, what’s F1 got to do with what Lewis says from his bedroom on Twitter?

              Unless your point is that _everything_ Lewis says is “in F1” then I don’t see how you can police his speech without limiting his – in your words “rights as every individual to express his opinions ”

              “Are black/coloured people discriminated against by the FIA,F1 teams,Liberty media et al? No, I don’t think so.”

              Your personal incredulity is meaningless. We live in a world where people genuinely believe the Earth is flat and look out at a seemingly flat ocean and pronounce that “water finds it’s level, look, there is no curve.” Their personal incredulity is meaningless when it comes to the shape of the earth, and your personal incredulity is meaningless when it comes to racism in motor sports.

        2. These activities have exactly the right place in F1, as they should have in any sport. Racism should and must be addressed anywhere possible (women in F1, anyone?). If HM made a remark which downplays the #BLM movement, LH has a full right (as has any other person for that matter) to confront him on the subject. Racism should never have a playing field, not in society, not in politics and not in sports.

          1. @Petebaldwin….You really need to think before you hit the keyboard. Everyone, including Hamilton has the right to say whatever he wants eg freedom of speech. That he chooses to run this BLM mantra within F1 is the wrong place. That’s what i have said and that is what i believe. Hamilton’s rush to Marko’s condemnation, and if the truth is that Marko did not say what he was reported to have said, then i would expect Hamilton as an upright moral citizen would duly apologise and give that apology the same prominence as his own derogatory comments directed to Marko.

            1. William Jones
              18th June 2020, 10:29

              “You can say whatever you want.”

              “No not that!!!!”

            2. William Jones
              18th June 2020, 10:31

              What if Marko has asked him not to give an apology the same prominence as the accusation? It’s exactly what I would do, to hasten the end of the news cycle.

      2. It’s not like Marko said these things, if he said them at all, with a good deal of exaggeration. Alas, the social activists and virtue signaller have never been great friends with hyperbole and irony.

      3. @alianora-la-canta
        But he never said it, and Lewis already deleted his post!
        So now you’re the one on the wrong side of history, lol!

      4. Lewis jumped the gun without solid proof.

        Fighting for a cause doesnt make it right to make false accusations against people that never did those. He should apologize to Marko.

    12. When an unlikeable character like Marko is needed to put some sense into the heads of some, you can tell how far it has gotten and, hopefully, how hard will the pendullum swing back…

    13. Good on you Lewis. Assert dominance!

    14. Racists will remain racists, definitely most of them, unless they are hit hard (I don’t mean physical harm).

      If these words are true, RBR must fire Helmut immediately.

      1. @dallein
        But they were not true… so guess Mercedes should fire Lewis immediately, right?

        1. @ Niki101 Exactly so but will anything happen…no. Wolff is spineless wherever Hamilton is concerned.

    15. In my view, Lewis has overrreacted. In case he did say it, Marko’s point is that activism is defocusing Lewis from racing proficiency.

      I’m involved in a political party and there have been tons of times that people have advised me that it’s dilapidating my available energy to become a great professional in my field. I can’t take this assertion as an attack or even disagreement with my ideology, it’s just someone else’s opinion about my personal resource distribution.

      1. Though even with it not being true @blasbri, there have been a lot of people in/around F1 that kept saying this or that distracts Hamilton (usually something that’s on their hobby horse of not being appropriate, like some posters above), but during the past few years he certainly has proven that’s not true at all – I think his post wasn’t all that outrageous, though it being based on false information, it certainly makes sense for him to delete it (and have that conversation with dr. Marko I hoped for as my first comment above on this page at next race clear the air).

    16. t’s fake, a twitter user said this as a joke for Marko’s over the top quotes like max should get coronavirus. A reporter picked it up and Lewis read the reporters article probably and yes the rest is history

      1. @ Armand Serpentier…And he milked it like crazy. I won’t stay up too late to read his apology, if the latest info is correct.

    17. The incredible amount of “whataboutism” comments I have seen over the last few weeks on this site, makes me believe that Lewis has a point. The problem is worse than I thought.

      1. You mean the comment that Marko never said but Lewis accused him of saying?

        Its fine for Lewis to promote BLM, but it doesnt make it right to falsely accise people. Lewis couldn’t resist to check the facts first and be responsible.

    18. Reading the comments here, we don’t need Marko’s quotes to be true or false for Lewis’ comments to be right. And it’s been going for a while now…

      Way to put yourselves in other’s people shoes, people.

      1. Indeed @fer-no654 – still believe it would be good for him to have a good conversation about it w. dr. Marko, to apologise for reacting to fake reporting, but also to make clear why he reacted that way, and perhaps to reiterate that he’s been disappointed that from the Red Bull camp the only one to say something constructive about BLM and/or racism so far this year has been the junior driver Albon (who had a very good commentary on why he was late with it, IMO).

    19. This comments section is hilarious.

      Even if Helmut did say something like that, he would only have been poking for a reaction – and he got it.
      Anyone who’s ever watched any sport should understand the concept of game talk.
      It’s all just mind games.

    20. Its OK – everything has been removed from twitter – nothing to see here – lots of indignation over nothing :)

      1. He still made the comment and he should apologize.

        1. According to some reports he called Marko and supposedly apologised, but nothing has been said publically which shows just how manipulative he really is. When he leapt on the ‘fake news’ why didn’t he simply phone Marko and vent. No, he went public to millions of people!! Yet now he’s been shown to be totally out of order he publishes nothing….nothing that i’ve seen anyway! It;s media exploitation at its worst.

    21. In America cities are on fire from these types of comments. Cut the BS and let’s sort our differences on the track. White Black Red Yellow Blue or Green just stop it. Think about those around you. Make it your personal deal to stop listen and understand today’s world. After all who are you anyway.

      1. William Jones
        18th June 2020, 10:27

        Ok, sounds good. Thing is, Green people are dirty, their food smells strange and they are stupid. I don’t want my kids associating with their kids. If we can’t outright ban them from karting, can we all bully them and make them feel so unwelcome that they never come back. Who cares if they can’t go anyway, there’s a reason no world champion has been from a Martian background (it’s because they are an inferior race and will never be as good at driving as us Earthlings)

    22. We all love F1 politics, but now F1 really is political.

    23. Strange choice of the picture of Lewis BTW.
      Some suggestion that he just came back from a protest?
      Not tasteful Keith.

      1. @rebelangelfloyd No just a recent picture of him. You’re reading things into it that aren’t there.

    24. NeverElectric
      19th June 2020, 4:00

      What does it say about F1 fans that this story has among the most comments of any recent story?
      Some stories should have the comments section disabled.

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