French midfielder Ousmane Dembele apologized on Monday after a video appeared on social media of him appearing to denigrate Asian hotel workers during a tour of Japan by his club Barcelona.
Dembele offered his “sincere apologies” after a 42-second clip, which he appeared to have taken on Snapchat in 2019, leaked and widely shared on social media platforms.
It shows Dembele, during Barca’s pre-season tour in July 2019, talking to teammate Antoine Griezmann who waits for local technicians to hook up a game console to a TV in their hotel room.
“All those ugly faces, just so you can play PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), aren’t you ashamed?” »Asks Dembélé.
He then seems to mock the Japanese language before asking: “are you advanced in your country or not?”
Dembele, who is recovering from surgery after injuring his knee in France’s second group game at Euro 2021, said he regrets the incident.
“Recently, a private video from 2019 is circulating on social networks. In this case, it is in Japan, it could have been anywhere on the planet and I would have used the same expressions. I was not targeting any community, ”he added. the 24-year-old said on Instagram.
“The video is now made public – I understand how this may have impacted the people in these images and as such I offer my sincere apologies. “
The video first appeared on a YouTube account with only a handful of subscribers, but was later picked up on Twitter where it received over 6,000 retweets under the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
Griezmann, who was also in hot water three years ago for appearing in blackface and dressed as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters for a party, insisted on Monday that he had always opposed “any form of discrimination ”.
He also apologized and insisted, “I’m sorry if I offended my Japanese friends. “
© 2021 AFP