Mastercard has allegedly suspended its advertising campaign with Brazilian professional footballer Neymar Jr. (pictured), after he was reportedly accused of raping a woman in Paris last month.
According to Brazilian TV network Globo, Mastercard apparently halted marketing activations with the footballer on grounds of rape allegations until the issue has been resolved. The company reportedly had “a series of marketing activations” planned for Copa America which focus on the use of down payment. Marketing has reached out to Mastercard for comment.
Neymar Jr. recently appeared in a global campaign for Mastercard titled “The Red Ball”, which shows him engaging in a mission with other professional athletes such as Lionel Messi, Ana Ivanovic and Dan Carter, to retrieve a dog’s lost red ball.
Meanwhile, Nike has also raised concerns over the rape allegations and that it will “closely monitor” the situation, Reuters reported. Neymar Jr. was featured in a recent ad by Nike titled “Dream Further” for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It also dropped a mixtape with the footballer in 2017 to draw the younger crowd. Among the list of other brands Neymar Jr. works with include Qatar Airways, Red Bull, Gillette, McDonalds and Beats by Dre.
Following news of sponsors allegedly dropping Neymar Jr., NR Sports, the athlete’s image rights holder, said in a statement on its website that there is “no breach of any contract currently in force after the disclosure of the serious accusation against the athlete”. It added that together with “some partners and sponsors”, it is “suspending some campaigns” in light of the seriousness of the “unjust accusations”. NR Sport also said that all the partners have been alerted and are aware of the unfolding events. Meanwhile, some partners have decided not to suspend ad campaigns involving Neymar Jr., NR Sports added.
In a separate statement on its website, NR Sports also said that it “completely repudiates the unjust accusations and, above all, the exposure in the press of an extremely negative situation”. It also claimed that the footballer was “a victim of attempted extortion”. Meanwhile, Neymar Jr. also reportedly released a seven-minute video on Instagram denying the accusations and saying he was a victim of attempted extortion.
(Photo courtesy: Neymar Jr.’s Facebook page)