The Juventus Women team’s Twitter account shared a since-deleted racist note with an accompanying image that it says was “not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones.”
On Thursday, the official Twitter account for the women’s soccer club based in Turin, Italy, tweeted out a snapshot of a player appearing to wear an orange soccer cone atop her head while pulling the corners of her eyes. Both the gesture and the look of the cone evoke racist Asian stereotypes.
The tweet was also captioned with a laughing emoji and two hands to signify the eye-pulling gesture.
It remained on the account’s page for more than 20 minutes before being deleted, leaving plenty of time for the internet to screenshot it and make it viral.
After its deletion, the group issued a statement on the account “sincerely” apologizing and insisting that Juventus “has always been against racism and discrimination,” adding the hashtag ”#DifferencesMakeTheDifference.”
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
The apology did not explain where the image came from or how it was “not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones” when such a gesture is inherently racist. Juventus told HuffPost it had no further comment.
In response, many people on Twitter ― particularly those within Asian communities ― have spoken out against Juventus’ tweet and subsequent apology:
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) August 5, 2021
What could have been the point of this other than blatant racism? Classic non-apology
— Angela Chen KESQ (@AngelaWChen) August 5, 2021
The number of bad decisions made to get here are astounding.
1. You make the face.
2. You put the thing on your head.
3. You do the racist thing w/ your fingers.
4. You allow someone to take a picture.
5. The social media manager posts it.
6. & then a dollop of racist emojis.🤯 https://t.co/JnvQ4j4ATM
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) August 5, 2021
i didn't even know you could do asian hate crimes via emoji until this juventus shitstorm. what a formal innovation honestly
— Delia Cai (@delia_cai) August 5, 2021
Juventus has deleted the clearly racist tweet. Absolute disgrace anyone thinks this is appropriate never mind funny. We've approached the club for a response, it had better involve the words "sorry", "out of order", "grossly inappropriate" and "fired". pic.twitter.com/Qrd9yhgutp
— Anton Toloui (@SkyAnton) August 5, 2021
so many things. but the fact that this was posted to an official account. with those fqn emojis. with no other context.
— Kimmy The Pooh (@kimmythepooh) August 5, 2021
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear
It's 2021 and yet numerous people at Juventus thought this tweet was okay pic.twitter.com/Il7YxMl2YU
— David Kent (@KentoCCFC) August 5, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.