Hiroshi Mikitani, the founding president of Rakuten, main sponsor of Barça since 2017, has publicly reacted to the controversial video which is causing a stir in Spain and Japan, showing Ousmane Dembélé making remarks that are at the very least discriminatory alongside a Griezmann hilarious.
The case continues to grow. At the forefront in the fight against homophobia and racism, Antoine Griezmann was caught by a very embarrassing video. For him, and especially his teammate Ousmane Dembélé. An old video, dated 2019, has burst onto social media in recent days, in which the two players are heard mocking the looks and language of employees at a hotel in Japan, where they were touring with Barça.
Mikitani: “We will protest”
We hear Dembélé make insulting remarks towards the Japanese, triggering laughter from Griezmann at his side. The controversy has obviously aroused unease in the country of the Rising Sun, in particular because the main sponsor of Barça since 2017 is none other than Rakuten. After obtaining behind the scenes the public apologies of the two offending players, the Japanese brand has positioned itself more frankly through its president and founder, Hiroshi Mikitani.
“I am very sorry, as a sponsor of the club and organizer of the tour, that Barca players made discriminatory comments, he wrote on social media. Since Rakuten has adhered to Barca’s philosophy and has sponsored club, such statements are unacceptable under any circumstances. We will formally protest to the club and seek their advice. “
Dembélé and Griezmann apologized
France team striker Ousmane Dembélé apologized on Monday, as did Antoine Griezmann. “I have always been committed against any form of discrimination, says the latter, widely targeted by critics. In recent days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not. I firmly refute the accusations that me are worn and I’m sorry if I could offend my Japanese friends. “
The Barça striker, who denounced at the end of the year the assault of a black music producer by the police in Paris, had already had to apologize in December 2017 after posting a photo of him on social networks , disguised as a black Harlem Globetrotters player. A tribute for him but a gesture denounced as a “blackface”, which refers to a racist practice born at the time of segregation in the United States.