France and Barcelona stars Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé are facing hefty criticism after videos were leaked of the two players mocking Japanese workers and making a racist remark. The first Griezmann Dembele video shows the duo laughing at electricians who were trying to fix the soccer players’ Pro Evolution Soccer video game.
Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé, in leaked video, appear to be mocking asian technicians in their hotel room who came to fix a technological issue, proceed to mock their looks, language and country's supposed "technological advance". pic.twitter.com/9fiBtyZxej— +Barça (@plusbarca_) July 3, 2021
Dembélé: "All these ugly faces just [for us] to play PES, aren't you [Griezmann] ashamed."
Dembélé:"Oh fuck, what a language"
Dembélé:"You're [supposed] to be developed as a country, aren't you?"— +Barça (@plusbarca_) July 3, 2021
A second video of Griezmann was leaked that showed the Barcelona forward yelling, “ching chong” while bathing in an ice bath.
— nahidul (@duatleti) July 3, 2021
Both players have responded to the videos on social media and denied any racist or discriminatory intent behind their actions. They apologized for anyone hurt by the videos. Dembélé issued his apology on Instagram.
"Hello all, during these last few days, a private video dating back to 2019 has been circulating on social media," Dembélé said. "It all took place in Japan. It could've taken place anywhere on the planet and I would've used the same expression. I was therefore not targeting any community. I just happened to use this type of expression with my friends regardless of their origins.
"This video has since been made public. I appreciate therefore that it could've hurt the people present in these images. Because of this, I would like to sincerely apologize to them."
Griezmann gave his response to the videos on Twitter.
Je me suis toujours engagé contre toute forme de discrimination. Depuis quelques jours certaines personnes veulent me faire passer pour l’homme que je ne suis pas. Je réfute avec fermeté les accusations qui me sont portées et je suis désolé si j’ai pu offenser mes amis japonais.— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) July 5, 2021
"I have always been completely against all forms of discrimination. For the past few days, certain people have wanted to paint me as someone that I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I'm sorry if I have offended any of my Japanese friends."
The actions from the two Barcelona players could see repercussions for their club. Japanese billionaire and founder of Rakuten Inc. (one of Barcelona’s sponsors) tweeted out his disgust after seeing the video.
FCBの選手が差別的発言をした事について、クラブのスポンサーまたツアーの主催者としてとても残念に思います。楽天はバルサの哲学に賛同し当クラブのスポンサーをしてきただけにこのような発言は、どのような環境下でも許されるものではなく、クラブに対して正式に抗議すると共に見解を求めていきます— 三木谷浩史 H. Mikitani (@hmikitani) July 6, 2021
Translation: “As sponsor and tour organizer, I am very disappointed that the FCB players made racist remarks. Since Rakuten endorses Barça's philosophy and sponsors the club, such statements are unacceptable under any circumstances and will formally protest the club and seek their views.”
Losing any of the big-name Asian sponsors would be a massive blow to Barcelona, a club already floundering in money issues.
The reaction online to the Griezmann Dembele video has been disappointment and anger.
C'est à cause de moqueries comme ça que ma fille rentre en larmes de l'école parce que d'autres enfants lui ont dit "sale ching chong" "mangeuse de chiens"
Vous normalisez des comportements abjects qui valent pour toutes les formes de discriminations.— QueenYoonji ⁷ (@Vimwone) July 5, 2021
Translation: It is because of teasing like that that my daughter comes home in tears from school because other children called her "dirty ching chong" "dog eater." You normalize abject behaviors that apply to all forms of discrimination.
“ching chong” is very racist thing to say against Asians. And You might think it is not a big deal but it actually is because racism starts from there, Ignorance. Asians are getting assaulted every day because of the same ignorance. Please learn and grow. I say this with respect.— 北村昭博 Akihiro Kitamura (@akihirokitamura) July 5, 2021
Just saw the Dembele and Griezmann video. Absolutely disgusting comments by Dembele. If it's not edited, get them both out of Barcelona. There's no defending that.— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) July 3, 2021
I’m tired of racism towards Asians being brushed aside and not being talked aboutOsumane Dembélé, you are a racist and a disgrace of a footballer https://t.co/SoWo1q2EpR
— James (@UtdCinoci) July 3, 2021
Your teammate made racist jokes about Japanese people and you laughed about them. There's no misunderstanding or something, you should've just apologised.— luka (@mikkeldamsgoat) July 5, 2021