Shortly after L'Oréal Paris copped flak for being hypocritical in its support of the Black Lives Matter movement in America, English football club Arsenal has also found itself a target of the netizen firing squad for a similar reason. Last week, the football club tweeted that it stands against racism and stands side by side with the black community.
"We stand with our black players of the past, present and future. We celebrate diversity. We belong together," it added. While its message had good intentions, some netizens questioned Arsenal for not having the same enthusiasm when one of its players Mesut Ozil showed support for Uighurs in Xinjiang and called out Muslim countries last December for not speaking up about China's treatment towards them.
Ozil, a German footballer of Turkish origin, said on Instagram that Qurans are being burnt, mosques are being shut down, and Muslim schools are being banned. His comments came as China was condemned internationally for building network of camps in Xinjiang, which plan to homogenise the Uighur population in its country, multiple media outlets including The Guardian reported. Following his comments, China pulled coverage of Arsenal's game against Manchester City, CNN said. At that point, Arsenal distanced itself from Ozil's comments, saying that the content published is his personal opinion and that as a football club, it has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics, The Guardian said.
Netizens refused to let Arsenal forget its previous statement about Ozil, criticising the football club for not defending Ozil when he received backlash, adding that it should be consistent with its actions. Some also called for the hypocrisy to stop and not to speak up only when there are no risks involved.
Arsenal told Marketing that one of its over-arching aims is to embrace and encourage inclusion and diversity. The football club added that it has shown this throughout its history and it remains fully committed to making the club somewhere everyone feels comfortable to be themselves, whatever their background.
"We work hard to ensure we use the power of the Arsenal badge to make a difference and break down barriers globally. We are always careful not to step into political areas but understand this is a stance which is open to interpretation. However our aim is to drive inclusion and equality across everything we do," Arsenal added.
Recently, model and former brand ambassador Munroe Bergdorf lambasted L'Oréal Paris for not supporting her when she spoke out against the racial violence of white people in 2017. Her comments came after the brand said it stands in solidarity with the Black community and against injustice of any kind. L'Oréal Paris also said it made a commitment to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People to support progress in the fight for justice.
"Where was my support when I spoke out? Where was my apology? I'm disgusted and writing this in floods of tears and shaking. This is gaslighting," she said. Bergdorf added that the brand dropped her from a campaign in 2017 and "threw [her] to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy".