'An absolute joke': Serie A chiefs slammed after 'anti-racism campaign' featuring monkeys is itself accused of being racist
There have been several instances of racist abuse in Italian football in recent months, with players complaining of being subjected to monkey chants and various other racist behavior from the stands. Several players, including Mario Balotelli, Kalidou Koulibaly and Romelu Lukaku, have made known their objection to the pervasive nature of the abuse.Also on rt.com 'Consider it a form of respect': Inter Milan ultras tell Lukaku monkey chants are 'not racism'
League officials, in an apparent show of solidarity with targets of the racist chanting, pledged support in the form of an anti-racism campaign - but their method of doing so has been seen as horrendously tone-deaf after a sequence of paintings by artist Simone Fugazzotto which are reportedly part of the campaign made their way to social media on Monday.
The three images feature a close-up of apes with the colors of various Italian football teams added, images which the artist says were designed to help "change people's perceptions".
Us: Serie A should work to stamp out racism in the Italian leagueSerie A: We agree, we’ll start a campaign!Us: Great news*time passes*Serie A: We’ve done it. Let’s put these anti-racism posters up in our stadiums. This will stop the racists.Us: ...are those...monkeys?? https://t.co/buuiOjEGYv— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) December 16, 2019
To answer your inevitable questions:a) Yes, it's real. b) The artist uses monkeys in all his paintings. They hired him specifically for this project.c) Yes, it's really real.d) @SerieA_EN see nothing wrong with monkeys in an anti-racism message.e) Yes, honestly, it's real.— footballitalia (@footballitalia) December 16, 2019
Can’t wait for Serie A’s next anti-racist campaign which will at this rate encompass asking all of the white players to wear blackface.— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) December 16, 2019
"For an artist, there is nothing more important than trying to change people’s perceptions via their work," Fugazzotto said.
"With this trio of paintings, I tried to show that we are all complex and fascinating creatures, who can be sad or happy, Catholic, Muslim or Buddhist, but at the end of the day, what decides who we are is not the colour of our skin."
Quite predictably, the paintings have been met with a swath of criticism when they began circulating on social media.
Serie A's new 'No to Racism' campaign. This is an absolute joke. 😳🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/YektJx7cch— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) December 16, 2019
Serie A is so racist their anti-racism campaign is racist pic.twitter.com/DTUs4DEzif— Elliot Hackney (@ElliotHackney) December 16, 2019
@acmilan I dont want to see this anti rasicm monkey banners hanging in or around our stadium, its a disgrace by Serie A using monkeys against racism. I don't want anything to do with these racist banners🤦🏼♂️ I want to see this (📸2nd photo)! pic.twitter.com/U4Ou6CRpPU— AC Forza Milan/News (@ACForzaMilano) December 16, 2019
The paintings, which are currently on display at the Serie A headquarters in Milan, were defended by Serie A general manager Luigi De Siervo, who said: "Simone’s paintings fully reflect the values of fair play and tolerance, so will remain in our headquarters.
"The Lega is taking a strong stand against any form of prejudice. We realise racism is an endemic problems and very complex, so we are facing it on three fronts – cultural, via works of art such as Simone’s paintings, sporting through a series of initiatives and players and clubs, and also repressive, thanks to the collaboration with the police."Also on rt.com ‘You have to give him 10 bananas’: Italian TV pundit fired for racist Lukaku comments