'Total lack of consultation': Serie A clubs slam league's use of monkey artwork in anti-racism campaign
Serie A giants AC Milan and Roma have added their voices to the growing condemnation of an anti-racism campaign organized by Italian football chiefs which features pictures of monkeys with painted faces.
The 'No To Racism' campaign caused alarm among football supporters when images of the three pictures became viral on social media on Monday, prompting questions as to the prevalence of institutional racism in the Italian game.Also on rt.com 'An absolute joke': Serie A chiefs slammed after 'anti-racism campaign' featuring monkeys is itself accused of being racist
Serie A has been beset with repeated incidents of racist behavior from supporters in recent months, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kalidou Koulibaly being targeted by sections of fans with overtly racist 'monkey' chants. Due to the growing tide of these ugly incidents, all 20 clubs in the Italian top flight pledged to help combat racist discrimination.
"Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism," AC Milan announced on social media.
They also added that they were "surprised by the total lack of consultation".
#ASRoma was very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign from Serie A featuring painted monkeys on social media today. We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don’t believe this is the right way to do it. pic.twitter.com/jVLImrgS0y— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 16, 2019
AS Roma, meanwhile, issued a similar complaint saying that they were "very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign from Serie A featuring painted monkeys on social media today. We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don’t believe this is the right way to do it."
Anti-discriminatory watchdog Fare said that they were "speechless" as a result of the pictures, while fellow anti-racism group Kick It Out deemed the images "completely inappropriate".
However, Luigi de Siervo, Chief Executive of Serie A, rejected criticism, saying that the league's commitment to eliminating racism is robust.Also on rt.com 'Consider it a form of respect': Inter Milan ultras tell Lukaku monkey chants are 'not racism'
"We know that racism is an endemic and very complex problem, which we will tackle on three different levels: the cultural one, through works like that of Simone; the sporting one, with a series of initiatives together with clubs and players; and the repressive one, thanks to collaboration with the police."
As of Monday, the three images remain displayed in Serie A headquarters in Milan.