It’s been well-established that it’s not a great idea to make a “slant-eye” gesture, whether you’re a Telemundo host, a MLB player, a soccer legend, or a Serbian women’s volleyball player. The latest to make that particular racist gesture is a member of Italian soccer club Juventus FC’s women’s team, as shown by a photo they posted to Twitter Thursday of a player wearing a training cone and making that gesture. The tweet was deleted less than half an hour after it was posted, but, as the screencap below illustrates, it already had drawn massive criticism by that point:
Here’s some of that criticism:
— IMcontrariato (@kappazeta_) August 5, 2021
Whoever runs the “Juventus Women” Twitter account, just got fired. pic.twitter.com/P662xpVFXG
— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) August 5, 2021
I see the anti-racism message is going well at Juventus…
Aside from the issue of the player just being a compete dick, do the people running their social media accounts just have no training (or brains) at all? pic.twitter.com/wMVMPH8wST
— Jack Hancock #JoinAUnion (@1983Jackhancock) August 5, 2021
All anyone in the soccer world is going to be talking about today is Messi.
Juventus: Hold my Peroni
— Steve McPherson (OLED model) (@steventurous) August 5, 2021
For their part, Juventus offered this incredibly half-hearted “sorry if you were offended” apology, with no recognition of the mistake they made:
We sincerely apologise that our tweet, which was not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones, may have offended anyone. Juventus has always been against racism and discrimination. #DifferencesMakeTheDifference
— Juventus Women (@JuventusFCWomen) August 5, 2021
And that apology came with its own criticism:
It took 34 minutes to pull the offensive tweet and replace it with an offensive explanation. https://t.co/64tpiwaXIK
— Austin M. Davis (@amdyqr) August 5, 2021
"Juventus has always been against racism and discrimination." pic.twitter.com/7k2wXvaAuC
— jordan pickford golden glove (@Rhys1of1) August 5, 2021
It’s also funny that this came the same week as Juventus bragged about becoming the first European club to join Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu:
Juventus has today launched its official account on Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle platform, becoming the first European football club to do so.
The Bianconeri club will post its latest developments on the official Juventus Xiaohongshu account. Juventus will share football-centric content including match updates, behind the scenes, and other exciting happenings to fans on Xiaohongshu. The club will simultaneously promote its lifestyle concept, whilst featuring its lifestyle content, such as fashion, music, and art.
Xiaohongshu is a lifestyle platform that mainly targets a younger demographic. Users post positive lifestyle-related pictures and videos, such as “outfit of the day”, healthy diets, fitness exercises, etc. Xiaohongshu has attracted a large number of younger users, with 70% of the current fanbase having been born in the 90s.
Luca Adornato, Head of Marketing at Juventus, commented, “Juventus is committed to promoting a football-centric lifestyle across a global scale and are delighted to be able to connect with our passionate fanbase, across China on Xiaohongshu. We hope to provide fans around the world with branded content, ranging from football to lifestyle and by launching on Xiaohongshu, we can use this platform to have more in-depth communication with Chinese fans and trend setters.”
That’s as may be, but their women’s team certainly didn’t use their Twitter platform to have more in-depth communications with Chinese fans, or with most fans. At least, not more positive communications.