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Griezmann And Dembélé Issue Apologies For Leaked Video Mocking Japanese Workers

The videos were filmed in 2019 during Barcelona’s preseason tour of Japan.

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.

Rough Translation:

A second video of Griezmann was leaked that showed the Barcelona forward yelling, “ching chong” while bathing in an ice bath.

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.

"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. 

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.

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.

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