'If you think I'm racist, go f*ck yourself': Anthony Joshua hits out after backlash over 'abstain from their shops' comments
Anthony Joshua has slammed critics of a speech he delivered at a Black Lives Matter protest in his native Watford after the world heavyweight champion was accused of calling for people to stop spending money in white-owned stores.
Joshua attended the peaceful protest on Saturday after spates of similar gatherings had occurred in several major cities across the globe, mirroring demonstrations in the United States following the death of George Floyd while under police arrest in Minneapolis.
The boxer, who was wearing a dark hoodie as well as a leg brace and crutches, joined the crowd in reading from a piece of paper which had been distributed among them.
However, Joshua has been forced to reject accusations of racism after a snippet of his speech was shared on social media which showed him imploring the crowd to shop in black-owned businesses.
"Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses," Joshua says in the clip. "Show them where it hurts."
After receiving a backlash online, 'AJ' released a further message in which he criticized those who had thrown racial accusations at him.
June 7, 2020
"If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself!" Joshua wrote on Twitter.
"If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead.
"I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of us personally investing seven figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.
"Shops aren't the issue here. Before you talk sh*t, you better boycott racism."
Joshua has previously come under fire after allegedly sending racist messaging to former opponent Eddie Chambers.Also on rt.com ‘Disgrace to superior black race’ - Anthony Joshua allegedly sends ‘racist' messages to rival
Joshua also addressed a separate band of critics who maintain that social distancing during a protest in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is impossible.
"I understand the concerns in regards to social distancing," Joshua said in an earlier message.
"However I hope those who are complaining about social distancing have the same energy about those gathering for a day at the beach [and] those going to the park for a picnic."