The Italian Serie A has come under severe criticism for dehumanizing people of African heritage in a “No Racism Campaign.” The campaign has been instituted to tackle the insensitivity and rising racism in Italian football.
However, the initiative has been lambasted by anti-racism activists for its choice of monkey images, which they say dehumanize Africans and people of African heritage.
AC Milan has particularly taken a strong exception to the imagery and criticized “the total lack of consultation” before the production and use of the artwork. “Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism,” the club tweeted.
Rivals AS Roma has also criticized the imagery, saying it is not the right way to tackle racism.
Many individuals and associations, including the Football Against Racism Europe (FARE) called the artwork a “sick joke” and an “outrage.”
Despite the backlash, Serie A’s chief executive, Luigi de Siervo, has remained supportive of the artwork, indicating that “football is an extraordinary tool for conveying positive messages, fair play, and tolerance”, and that the painting “fully reflect these values” and would remain on show.
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