Barcelona and France football stars Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann have landed in a massive racism row after appearing to mock Asian workers in a video that has leaked online. In it, the duo can be seen ridiculing local technicians as they attempt to fix a television in their hotel room. However, it is unclear when the video originated.
The news comes in the wake of France’s elimination in the Round of 16 penalty shootout against Switzerland and follows reports of major internal discord within Didier Deschamps’ squad involving Kylian Mbappe, Adrien Rabiot, and Griezmann.
Dembele is seen recording the men at work with a social media app ( Snapchat).
“All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), aren’t you ashamed?,” Dembele tells Griezmann.
“What kind of backward language is that?” and “Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?” he later adds.
Griezmann’s words are inaudible but the Barcelona forward can be heard laughing throughout.
❗️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
The attacking pair were in the squad for France at Euro 2020 but the video is believed to be shot a couple of years ago. Particularly Griezmann’s haircut suggests that the video isn’t from the Euros and reports have claimed it’s actually from Barcelona’s pre-season tour to Asia in 2019.
Incidentally, Barcelona have been sponsored by Japanese retail giant Rakuten since 2016.
The footage has also sparked online outrage under the hashtag #StopAsianHate. There have been calls for French Football Federation to release a statement and take immediate action.
It is not the first time that Griezmann has been involved in a controversy surrounding racism. In 2017 the 30-year-old shocked people when he dressed in blackface for a fancy dress party.
DEMBELE AND GRIEZMANN EXPOSED FOR RACISM?
WE KNEW pic.twitter.com/Nfn13oudeX
— Chief 🍇 (@DepayChief) July 2, 2021
Dembele and Antoine Griezmann have apologized for a 2019 video appearing to mock hotel staff in Japan but denied their comments were racist.
“It all took place in Japan. It could’ve taken place anywhere on the planet and I would’ve used the same expression,” Dembele wrote on Instagram on Monday. “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 said he was “completely against all forms of discrimination”. “For the past few days, certain people have wanted to paint me as someone that I am not,” he said on Twitter. “I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I’m sorry if I have offended any of my Japanese friends.”
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