Pepe Reina’s TV ad pulled

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina is the latest player involved in a race scandal, as a TV advert featuring him has been withdrawn from Spanish TV after being depicted as racist.

The Anfield stopper has been appearing in a number of adverts for multinational insurance company Groupama, and one of the scenes sees Reina encounter an African tribe.

Operation Black Vote (OBV), a non‑political campaigning group, have complained that the advert is racist, which has forced Groupama to withdraw it.

“I’m shocked on so many levels,” OBV director Simon Woolley told The Guardian.

“Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid, and animalistic homosexuals? Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade; does he think it’s OK to characterise black people this way?

“Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke? It’s back in the fifties this kind of stuff. They [Groupama] said they were ‘going to withdraw it immediately but have done nothing wrong. But if you’re upset then we apologise’.

“Given that Liverpool football club is trying to move forward from the Suarez affair, it is a shame that another one of their players has caused offence by appearing in an advert that seems to come from a bygone era. Those who are old enough might remember those despicable Zulu ads for cigarettes of the 1970s,” he concluded.

Liverpool have declined to comment on the incident.

By Gareth McKnight

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