After facing widespread backlash for a racist headline on the front cover of Corriere dello Sport, the Italian newspaper has defended its stance in equally controversial fashion.
The newspaper’s front page on Friday read: "Who are you calling racist? Lynching of a newspaper that for a century has defended liberty and equality."
The paper’s director, Ivan Zazzaroni, said: “This article has been made poisonous by those who have poison inside them.
“These days armies of right-minded people flock to the web to whitewash their beautiful souls. You locate the racist of the hour and off you go, in two strokes of the keyboard the stain has gone, you feel a better person in a better world. White, black, yellow.”
Corriere dello Sport front page on Friday: "Who are you calling racist? Lynching of a newspaper that for a Century has defended liberty and equality."
Because when accused of racism, you use word 'lynching'https://t.co/j1vt5qx5Da #KickItOut #NoToRacism #SerieA #FCIM #ASRoma pic.twitter.com/vCIcJc9VxW
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) December 5, 2019
Previewing Inter’s upcoming fixture against Roma on Thursday, Corriere dello Sport ran the front page with the headline ‘Black Friday’ in reference to Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.
The two players were teammates at Manchester United and are enjoying good seasons since leaving the club last summer. The newspaper selected the two as the narrative in which to base their preview around, but their choice of headline has caused widespread anger and dismay.
Italian journalist Matteo Bonetti tweeted: “Tone deaf, ignorant & with the usual racial undertones. Saying I’m shocked would be a lie at this point.”
Corriere dello Sport chief editor defending the headline that stirred indignation across the world:
“Denying differences is typical macroscopic mistake of the racism of the anti-racism.
Headline was the celebration of difference and pride of it”
(note to you: Im just reporting) pic.twitter.com/HvEWPWU2hp
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) December 5, 2019
On Thursday the Corriere dello Sport released a statement. It read: “Digital platforms? I would say dustbins. Made up of noble grudges. Cheap indignation. A nice thought a day keeps the doctor away.
“Armies of right-minded people flock to the web these days to die their beautiful souls white.
“Having identified the racist on duty, go, two strokes on the keyboard… you feel yourself to be a better man in a better world.
“White, black, yellow. Denying the difference is the typical obvious stumbling block of anti-racism racism.
“Black Friday… was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of difference, the magnificent wealth of difference.
“Transformed into poison by those who have the poison inside.”
Lukaku called the headline “fuelling negativity and racism”, while Smalling said it was “wrong and highly insensitive”.
Roma and Milan have both since banned the newspaper from their clubs.
Earlier this season, Lukaku suffered racist abuse from opposing fans after scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Cagliari. He stood staring at the Cagliari fans behind the goal, where monkey chants had come from, after putting away his penalty. His own fans subsequently wrote an open letter to “explain” why the monkey chants weren’t racist.
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