Serie A chief apologises for monkey artwork in anti-racism campaign

Serie A chief apologises for monkey artwork in anti-racism campaign

The artist, Fugazzotto, said: "I only paint monkeys as a metaphor for human beings". He discarded the idea that using monkey images to try to prevent people from directing monkey songs to black players could contribute to the problem, rather than solve it.

"Although the artist had explained that the meaning was specifically a message against racism, many have found the work questionable", De Siervo said in a statement.

The league confirmed it "is working on its official anti-racism campaign, which can not be identified with Simone Fugazzotto's work, and it will be presented by the end of February".

"The Lega is taking a strong stand against any form of prejudice".

The "No To Racism" campaign caused alarm among football supporters when images of the three pictures became viral on social media on Monday, prompting questions as to the prevalence of institutional racism in the Italian game.

Three of Italy's leading soccer clubs have hit out at the country's top league following the launch of its anti-racism initiative that features paintings of monkeys.

However, Fugazzotto insists the work - comprising close-ups of three apes described as being western, Asian and black, with different coloured markings around the eyes - is created to highlight the stupidity of prejudice based on skin colour. These are bandaids on a gaping cultural wound, and for that matter, facial recognition surveillance has never helped anyone.

Blasting the latest ham-handed attempt to deal with the persistent issues, former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore tweeted: "Fantastic to see Serie A anti-racism campaign posters (yes, it's really real)".

"I heard - and certainly not for the first time - insults and monkey noises aimed at great player, Kalidou Koulibaly". We turn the concept back on the racists, as we are all monkeys originally.

"It's true that he did a lot of portraits and painting and art around monkeys for five or six years and, from what the artist was saying, it was just his way to say that we are all monkeys - but it just doesn't look right". The organization FARE, which works against discrimination, had because of its part talked of "bad joke".

"It is encouraging when any governing body recognises they need to do more to tackle discrimination".

The artwork, which is on display at the Serie A headquarters in Milan, has attracted widespread criticism, including from anti-racism network, Fare, who described it as a "sick joke".

Racist acts by some in the crowd in Europe - and particularly in Italy - are directed specifically at players on the field and are meant to humiliate and upset them.

Michael Yormark, the chief executive of Roc Nation agency, which represents Lukaku who has been the subject of racist abuse since moving to Italy in August, called the artwork "a disgrace".

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