Konami ditches FC Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann after alleged racist incident in Japanese hotel
After a Snapchat video surfaced of FC Barcelona and France star Antoine Griezmann and his teammates appearing to mock Asian people, Konami has responded by ditching the footballer as their Yu-Gi-Oh! contents ambassador.
After ESPN first reported on a controversial Snapchat video, which appears to show Griezmann, as well as teammate Ousmane Dembele mocking the Asian staff at the hotel they were staying at during Barcelona’s tour of Japan in 2019, Japanese gaming publisher Konami have distanced theirselves from the player.
In the video, Dembele says to Griezmann: “All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES, aren’t you ashamed?”. Dembele then appears to mock the Japanese language before asking: “are you advanced in your country or not?”. Griezmann is then seen laughing at the hotel staff as they try to fix their television so they can play PES.Eurosport
Releasing a statement regarding the video and the remarks of the FC Barcelona Players, Konami states:
“Konami Digital Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” the statement reads. “Previously we had announced Antoine Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! contents ambassador, however in light of recent events we have decided to cancel the contract. With regard to our eFootball PES franchise, we will be requesting FC Barcelona as a club partner to explain the details of this case and its future actions”.
Both Dembele and Griezmann have since apologised for their racist remarks on Twitter, with Griezmann saying:
“I have always been committed against any form of discrimination. For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I apologize if I have offended my Japanese friends”.
Earlier this year Griezmann ended his relationship with Asian company Huawei, citing “strong suspicions” that the Chinese tech giant had contributed to the repression of the mostly Muslim minority Uighurs.