Just fresh off the Luis Suárez/Patrice Evra affair, Liverpool team officials are having to explain the racist actions of another of its players.
In this racist ad for an insurance company, Liverpool goalie Pepe Reina, who also plays for Spain’s national soccer team, is seen entering a village populated by black tribesmen. Upon hearing his last name, which means “Queen” in Spanish, the “chief” decides to take him on as a wife, saying, “me king, you queen.” Liverpool officials say they had no knowledge of the ad because it was made in Spain, for a Spanish company.
In any event, this is as bad as Russel Brand’s “African child“—and that was a parody.
British-based anti-racism group Operation Black Vote demanded the ad be pulled. The group’s director, Simon Woolley, told The Week:
“I’m shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?
“Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade – does he think it’s OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?”
Groupama, the insurance company behind the ad, pulled it out yesterday following the outrage. But no apology was offered. In fact, a spokesman for the company declared: “We consider there is no offensive content [in this ad]. It has a line of humour used in other ad campaigns, including with other goalies like [Iker] Casillas.” (See quote in Spanish here).