Zaha Hadid abruptly ended an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme this morning after a series of questions about controversial projects.
Hadid, who was today announced as the winner of the RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal, was asked about deaths at her World Cup stadium in Qatar and then about the loss of the Tokyo stadium.
She repeatedly cut in to correct interviewer Sarah Montague who suggested that 1,200 migrant workers had died at the Qatar site – an entirely false allegation, over which Hadid has sued in the past.
The interview ... then moved on to what Hadid described as the “scandal” surrounding the Tokyo stadium. But after Montague cut off one of her answers, Hadid, who was sitting in a radio car, declared: “Let’s stop this conversation. I don’t want to carry on. Let’s stop this conversation right now. Thank you very much.”
Montague put the 1,200 deaths claim to her and Hadid again cut in: “Absolutely not true. We sued someone for writing that and it had to be withdrawn from the press. It’s absolutely inaccurate.”
Under repeated questioning, Hadid said: “There have been no deaths of construction workers. You should check your information before you say anything… I can’t talk for the planet. I cannot talk about the entire world. I am talking about our site.”
When Montague turned to Hadid’s “tough summer” and the Tokyo stadium saga, Hadid quickly corrected her, saying: “I didn’t pull out. I pulled out because we had no contractor to go with. Again this is a very serious story and it should be reported accurately. Someone should be interested in it because it’s a scandal.”