Saturday Star

Slovak sportwear firm hit by hate mail for using black model

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BRATISLAVA: Hundreds of people sent hate mail to a Slovak sportswear company this week after it featured a black body-builder in an advert on its Facebook page, having used the same model twice last year without provoking any such reaction.

Comments have included calling the man “a murderer” and “an ape in sportswear”, with some people saying they would never shop at a company that promoted multicultu­ralism.

Hundreds of others have vowed to buy Nebbia clothes to show their support for the company.

EU member state Slovakia has Roma and Hungarian minorities but very few people of African origin among its 5.4 million people, and almost no migrants or refugees.

Nebbia asked customers who had objected to the advert to contact them via an email address which translates from Slovak as “I am racist” if they wish to return their clothes for a refund.

“Nebbia is a global brand which uses sportspeop­le of colour for marketing purposes.

“We don’t want people who feel racial hatred to wear our clothes,” chief executive Martin Pecko said in a statement.

“I thought that racism did not exist in a developed society like ours, unfortunat­ely we see in hundreds of reactions that it’s deeply rooted in people,” he said. – Reuters

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