Top clubs’ LGBT campaign leads to flood of homophobic messages
Premier League football teams, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, have received thousands of homophobic responses on social media for showing solidarity with Stonewall’s pro-LGBT Rainbow Laces campaign.
The clubs have spent the past two weeks posting pictures on social media of rainbow-striped logos and messages to mark the campaign, launched by Stonewall in 2013 to kick out homophobia in football. But Facebook posts by Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea were each met with tens of thousands of “angry” reactions. A post on Man Utd’s Facebook page in support of the campaign has had more than 43,000 “angry” reactions.
The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the reactions were “shocking” and “a wake-up call to the FA and individual clubs”. “Not enough is being done to challenge homophobia in football,” he said.
An Arsenal spokesperson said the club’s policies made it clear that “discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated”.
After Man Utd showed its solidarity with the Rainbow Laces campaign, one Facebook user commented: “Say no to LGBT.” The message has been “liked” more than 10,000 times. Other comments including “God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Lukaku!” and “Gaychester United” each received more 10,000 “likes”.
Similar messages were left on Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s Facebook pages after they added rainbow-coloured logos and messages in support of the campaign.
Tatchell said: “I suspect that these bigoted comments are coming from a hardcore minority and do not reflect the views of most fans.”
Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s director of sport, said: “It’s great to see so many sports associations across the UK proudly championing LGBT equality as part of our Rainbow Laces campaign. The backlash from a small minority online is a reminder of just how vital it is for all of us to do our bit to help make sport everyone’s game. This year’s campaign is about giving people confidence to be active allies and show their visible support for LGBT people, either on or off the pitch.”
Premier League clubs are backing the Rainbow Laces campaign