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18 Dec, 2019 10:06

'It was inappropriate': Serie A chiefs apologize for anti-racism monkey artwork campaign

'It was inappropriate': Serie A chiefs apologize for anti-racism monkey artwork campaign

Serie A bosses have issued an apology after a trio of controversial images featuring monkeys painted with team colors which was intended to be part of an anti-racism campaign became viral earlier this week.

The league received a steady torrent of criticism as a result of the three paintings by artist Simone Fugazzotto, with Serie A teams AC Milan and Roma both condemning them, while various anti-racism watchdogs also expressed their opposition.

Also on rt.com 'An absolute joke': Serie A chiefs slammed after 'anti-racism campaign' featuring monkeys is itself accused of being racist

In a statement released on social media on Tuesday, Milan said that they "strongly disagree" with the pictures, while in their own comments Roma also condemned them, saying: "We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don't believe this is the right way to do it."

It seems as though the furore forced Serie A to act as, despite initially backing the paintings, the league's chief executive Luigi De Siervo backtracked and admitted that the opposition to the images is legitimate. 

"I realized it was inappropriate," he said. "What cannot be questioned is the strong and constant condemnation by Serie A against all forms of discrimination and racism, and we are committed to eradicate this from our beloved league.

"Serie A is working on its official anti-racism campaign, which cannot be identified with Simone Fugazzotto's work, and it will be presented by the end of February."

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The topic of racism in football has been a pervasive one in the Italian league in recent times. Several players, such as Romelu Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Kalidou Koulibaly, have been the target of racist chanting from some sections of supporters.

Lukaku, who joined Inter Milan from Manchester United during the summer, said the treatment he received from some Cagliari fans after scoring a penalty against them was evidence that the sport was "going backwards".