Yet another soccer player is involved in a homophobic incident—but this one doesn’t involve Twitter or disparaging an opponent.
Liverpool FC goalie José Manuel Reina (a.k.a. “Pepe” Reina) recently appeared in a series of commercials for Spanish insurance company Groupama. In each, he’s in some dangerous predicament—about to get beaten up by a bruiser, skydiving without an instructor, riding a bus with no driver—but keeps his cool because he’s insured. In one scenario, he’s introduced to the king of a African tribe, who makes it clear he’d like to make Reina his mate. (“Reina” is actually Spanish for “queen.”)
But after the ad was attacked by activists for depicting blacks as “backward, stupid, and animalistic homosexuals,” Groupama announced it wouldn’t be running it anymore. (You can see the clip in question above, starting at the 1:00 mark)
Said Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote:
“I’m shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid, and animalistic homosexuals? Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? [He’s] lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade—Does he think it’s okay characterize black people this way? Does he think his black teammates will laugh at his joke?”
Though it pulled the advert, Groupama insisted in a statement that it “does not consider that this advert contains either offensive nor any discriminatory content.”
What say you? Is the commercial offensive or just humorous marketing?