July 6 – French football stars Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann have been at the centre of a racism row after a leaked video clip showed the pair mocking Asian technicians fixing a hotel TV. The duo were forced to apologise.
In a video clip, the Barcelona pair are shown laughing along and the winger mocks the technicians of Asian ancestry fixing a TV set.Dembele is seen recording the men at work with a social media app, Snapchat.
“All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), aren’t you ashamed?,” Dembele tells Griezmann. “What kind of backward language is that?” and “Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?” he later adds. Griezmann’s words are inaudible, but the Barcelona forward can be heard laughing throughout.
Where the clip originated from is unclear, but its veracity is not in doubt.The storm comes days after the French exited Euro 2020 in the round of 16 against Switzerland, a result that left the world champions shocked and embarrassed and led to reports of internal strife between Kylian Mbappe, Adrien Rabiot and Griezmann.
Online, the hashtag #StopAsianHate trended and there were calls for the French Football Federation (FFF) to release a statement and take immediate action. It’s not the first time Griezmann has been in the eye of the storm. In 2017, the striker blacked his face for a fancy dress party.
The pair apologised. On Twitter, Griezmann wrote: “I have always fought against all types of discrimination. In recent days, certain people want to make me out to be a man that I am not. I refute strongly the accusations against me and I am sorry if I might have offended my Japanese friends.”
On Instagram, Ousmane Dembele wrote: “Hello to all. In recent times, a private video from 2019 has been circulating on social media. There is a scene in Japan. It could have happened anywhere on the planet. I would have used the same expressions. I was not targeting any race or community. Sometimes I use these sorts of expressions in private, with my friends, no matter their origin. This video is now public… I present my sincerest apologies.”
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