Videos shot during World Cup celebrations expressing racism against French forward Kylian Mbappe have been making the rounds on social media. Not surprisingly, this has sparked outrage in France in particular.
The images circulating on social media, apparently shot during World Cup celebrations in Buenos Aires on Monday, are disturbing. In one video, some Argentine fans cheer as a coffin-lid-shaped cardboard banner depicting the face of French superstar Kylian Mbappe bursts into flames. In another, an Argentine fan can be seen holding high into the air a doll wrapped in black foil with “Mbappe” written on it.
It is mainly these two videos that have been causing a stir on social media. The fact that around five million other fans celebrated the World Cup triumph in Buenos Aries, apparently without racist outbursts, is given scant mention in the posts.
Many comments on the videos say these depict blatant racism by Argentine fans. Not surprisingly, the outrage has been particularly strong In France, not least because Black French players were also subjected to racist abuse on the internet immediately after the national team lost the final to Argentina on penalties.
Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Thomasenia of Real Madrid, who both missed their penalties, were subjected to the most vicious racist abuse. So was Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani, who scored on his penalty but had failed to score near the end of the game when Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made a brilliant save.
The French Football Federation (FFF) condemned the “racist and hateful remarks on social networks” and announced it would “press charges against their authors.” French Sports Minister Amelie Oudia-Castera spoke of “shameless” comments that had no place in football or anywhere else.
Controversial goalkeeper Martinez
French media also showed a video in which Argentine fans in Qatar used a song to racially insult French footballers and Mbappe in particular.
“Since the return of the Albiceleste to Buenos Aires, on Monday night, the taunts against the French striker have accelerated,” wrote the French newspaper “Le Figaro,” which strongly criticized Martinez in particular. He had called for “a minute’s silence for Mbappe” in the dressing room after the final. The paper also reported that during the victory parade in Buenos Aires he displayed a baby doll in diapers with the French star’s face depicted upon it. All the while, Lionel Messi simply sat by without commenting.
However, the newspaper also noted that perhaps Mbappe’s criticism of South American football was now coming back at him “like a boomerang.” Mbappe had said in an interview last May that football on the continent was “not as advanced as in Europe.” On the eve of the final, Martinez publicly criticized the Frenchman for his words.
“He doesn’t know enough about football. He has never played in South America,” Martinez said. “If you don’t have that experience, maybe it’s better not to talk about it.”
However, after the penalty shootout, Martinez was one of the first to console the disconsolate Mbappe.
Messi T-shirt as doormat
Media in South America did report on the racist incidents during the victory celebrations in Buenos Aires, but they also pointed to incidents that had occurred in France. The Argentine internet portal “Infobae” showed French fans in Paris lighting an Argentine flag on fire. It also reported about a pub in the French capital where a Paris St. The Germain Messi T-shirt was stapled to the floor at the entrance. A plaque next to it read, “Remember to wipe your feet before entering.”
This article was originally published in German. Author: Stefan Nestler