Apologies were not enough. The Japanese video game publisher Konami decided, this Wednesday, July 7, to terminate his ambassador contract with Antoine Griezmann following the publication, last week, of Ousmane Dembélé’s video mocking the physique and language of hotel employees in Japan in 2019, and in which the French striker appears.
“We had announced that Antoine Griezmann would be our ambassador Yu-Gi-Oh !, but in light of recent events, we have decided to cancel the contract”, the company said in a statement. Konami, which publishes a console football game every year, Pro evolution soccer (PES), also asked FC Barcelona “To explain the details of this case and future actions. “” Discrimination in all its forms is unacceptable “, Konami justified.
In a video broadcast on Friday on an almost anonymous Youtube account (25 subscribers), we see Dembélé questioning his Barça teammate Antoine Griezmann while technicians are busy around a TV in a hotel room. He is ironic about their physique and their language under the gaze of his partner, amused but silent.
Rakuten CEO wants “an explanation”
The two players apologized on Sunday. “I have always been committed against any form of discrimination […]. I firmly refute the accusations made to me and I am sorry if I could offend my Japanese friends ”, said Antoine Griezmann. His teammate in Barcelona and in the France team assured for his part that he “Would have used the same expressions” anywhere on the planet. “So I wasn’t targeting any community. “
But without quite convincing. Tuesday, Hiroshi mikitani, the CEO of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, shirt sponsor of FC Barcelona, said he wanted ” an explanation “ and let it be known on the social network Twitter that he would “Officially protest to the club”.
10 things to know about Antoine Griezmann, a committed sandwich man
In December 2020, Antoine Griezmann decided to sever his partnership with Chinese Huawei, citing “Strong suspicions” on its participation in the monitoring of the Uighur Muslim minority by the Chinese authorities, which the company denies.
The Barça striker, who denounced at the end of the year the assault of Michel Zecler, a black music producer by police in Paris, had already had to apologize in December 2017 after posting a photo on social networks of him, disguised as a black Harlem Globetrotters player. A tribute for him but a gesture denounced as a “blackface”, which refers to a racist practice born at the time of segregation in the United States.