Lewis Hamilton praised the pulling down of Bristol’s Edward Colston statute on Sunday before asking which other “racist symbols” would also be taken down.
The statue of Colston – a 17th century slave trader – was pulled down during Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol, before being dumped in the river.
The Formula 1 racing driver posted on his Instagram: “Slave trader Edward Colston statute pulled down!!!
“Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves! All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down!'
The six-time world champion elaborated on his question in a separate post. It read: “I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tweeted: “This is not OK”, while Home Secretary Priti Patel called the actions “utterly disgraceful”.
I grew up in Bristol. I detest how Edward Colston profited from the slave trade.
But, THIS IS NOT OK.
If Bristolians wants to remove a monument it should be done democratically - not by criminal damage. https://t.co/Wfz47zQQZU
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) June 7, 2020
The statue of Colston was erected in the city’s centre in 1895 but Rees called the statue a “personal affront” while declaring that he didn’t have “any real sense of loss” for the statue’s destruction.
The statue has been a constant point of contention, with regular petitions to have it pulled down considered by local officials.
A number of other athletes have called for institutions that also share Colston’s name to be changed. Former footballer Liam Rosenior and England rugby player Ellis Genge – who both grew up in Bristol – asked Colston’s School to consider a name change.
My name is Liam Rosenior (slave name).
I lived in Bristol as child.
I attended COLSTONS (slave owner and killer) primary school in order to receive my “education”.
Pardon me for enjoying this moment of irony.#BlackLivesMatterUK #BlackLivesMattters https://t.co/zX9dlzJQez
— Liam Rosenior (@rosenior_liam23) June 7, 2020