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Serie A slammed for using monkeys in anti-racism campaign poster

Tope Oke
Modified 28 Dec 2019, 08:00 IST

The poster in question.
The poster in question.

The Italian Serie A has taken the bizarre step of using monkey posters to depict its stand against racism in football. League Chief Executive Luigi de Siervo released the artwork at a news conference alongside the design artist Simone Fugazzotto. It shows three monkeys with painted faces.

The initiative has received widespread outrage and criticism. In a country that has been blighted by how football authorities treat racism with kid gloves, the move has been described as an "outrage, counter productive and a further dehumanization of people of African heritage'' by anti-discrimination organisation Fare.

Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out said: "Serie A's use of monkeys in their anti-racism campaign is completely inappropriate and undermines any positive intent''

"We hope that the league reviews and replaces their campaign graphics.

Serie A club, AS Roma said it was "very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign featuring painted monkeys on social media today''.

De Siervo and artist Fugazzotto have however defended the campaign. On the Serie A website, the league's Chief Executive Luigi De Siervo insists the league was adopting a three-pronged approach to combat racism which are to “spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood” and Fuggazzoto said he had been left ''completely shocked'' by the reaction.He added “I only paint monkeys as a metaphor for human beings. We turn the concept back on the racists, as we are all monkeys originally. So I painted a western monkey, an Asian monkey and a black monkey''.

This campaign is the latest controversial response in Italy to calls to clamp down on racial abuse. Recently, an Italian newspaper was criticised for using the headline Black Friday on its front page alongside images of Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Roma’s Chris Smalling.

All 20 Serie A clubs had signed a charter of principles against racism, stadium security would be improved by deploying facial recognition software to identify racist fans.

Published 18 Dec 2019, 00:00 IST
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