Serie A uses monkey images in anti-racism campaign
SERIE A has been blasted after its new "say no to racism" campaign poster featured the faces of three monkeys.
The Italian football league has come under heavy scrutiny this season with a string of high-profile racism storms, The Sun reports.
Lenient punishments to offenders and failure to support victims of racial abuse have led many to believe Serie A simply does not take racism seriously.
And now its latest PR disaster has drawn further criticism.
The justification from the league is that "the Triptych, composed of three side-by-side paintings depicting monkeys, aims to spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood".
Meanwhile, the artist who produced the posters that feature the design of the Serie A football, Simone Fugazzotto, is renowned for using apes and gorillas in all of his work.
The painter said: "The concept, the aesthetics, the technical realisation, even if very important, come later.
"With this Triptych I tried to tell this, that we are complex and fascinating creatures, that we can be sad or happy, Catholics, Muslims or Buddhists, but that, after all, what determines who we are are our actions, not the colour of the skin."
RECENT EXAMPLES OF RACISM
Romelu Lukaku, Franck Kessie, Dalbert Henrique, Ronaldo Vieira, Miralem Pjanic, Mario Balotelli and Kalidou Koulibaly have all been racially abused in Serie A this season.
Vieira, Kessie and Lukaku had monkey chants directed at them but the punishments were weak or non-existent.
Cagliari, whose fans have targeted Blaise Matuidi, Moise Kean and Lukaku within the past two years, has been cleared of any wrongdoing and avoided punishment every time.
All 20 top-flight clubs signed an open letter to the league at the end of November, calling for all to "act with speed, with purpose and with unity" because there is "no more time to waste".
Most recently, Lukaku and Chris Smalling featured on the front page of newspaper Corriere dello Sport ahead of Inter Milan vs Roma earlier this month, with the headline "Black Friday".
But speaking of his organisation's latest anti-racism campaign, Serie A chief Luigi De Siervo said: "Sport, first and foremost football, is an extraordinary tool for conveying positive messages, fair play and tolerance.
"Simone's paintings fully reflect these values and will remain on show in our headquarters.
"The league's commitment against all forms of prejudice is strong and concrete, 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 the collaboration with the police.
"By acting simultaneously on these three different levels we are sure that we will be able to win the most important game against the evil that ruins the most beautiful sport in the world."
'DISGUSTING': BACKLASH BEGINS
Fare, a body established to fight discrimination in football, called Serie A's response a "sick joke".
"Once again Italian football leaves the world speechless. It is difficult to see what Serie A was thinking, who did they consult?" Fare said.
"In a country in which the authorities fail to deal with racism week after week, Serie A have launched a campaign that looks like a sick joke.
"These creations are an outrage, they will be counter-productive and continue the dehumanisation of people of African heritage.
"It is time for the progressive clubs in the league to make their voice heard."
English sports writer and broadcaster James Horncastle also lashed out on Twitter, as did many others.
Monkeys are the focus of his art. Question is for the league and how they can’t see what a loaded and misguided collaboration this is for an anti-racism initiative. Tells you everything you need to know about why clubs are taking this into their own hands. No faith in the league— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) December 16, 2019
This is what Serie A is doing to address racism, a completely disgusting joke. pic.twitter.com/QSEK247uvm— Erasmus Jaymittu Shalihaxwe (@shalihaxwe1) December 16, 2019
Italy: how can we make it seem like we don’t understand the issue of racism at all and further illustrate how uninformed we are as a country?— Aaron West (@oeste) December 16, 2019
Serie A: hold this birra— pic.twitter.com/gWjcRVVbeS
Rest of the footballing world: Immediate action is needed from the hierarchy of Italian football to tackle the abhorrent levels of racism players are facing.— Tom Flanagan (@thomascflanagan) December 16, 2019
Serie A: pic.twitter.com/Avl7NTAqtH
This story first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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