Boris Johnson is talking tough against racism. The UK Prime minister condemned the racist abuse against England’s football players following their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
“[The England footballers] really do represent the best of our country. And I repeat, that I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night. And so what we are doing is today taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed so that if you are guilty, Mr Speaker, of racist abuse online of footballers then you will not be going to the match”, Johnson said.
While speaking in the UK Houses of Parliament, Johnson adds that social media networks will be fined if they fail to remove racist content from their various platforms.
“Last night I met representatives of Facebook, of Twitter, of TikTok, of Snapchat, of Instagram and I made it absolutely clear to them that we will legislate to address this problem, Mr Speaker, in the Online Harms Bill. And unless they get hate and racism off their platforms, they will face fines amounting to 10% of their global revenues”, he adds.
The racist abuse received by the English players has been met with widespread condemnation.
A petition to permanently ban racists from football matches, created in response to the abuse, garnered more than one million signatures in just two days.
Anti-racism demonstrators gathered on Tuesday at a mural of English striker Marcus Rashford after it was vandalized. Rashford said on Twitter Monday ” I can take a critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologize for who I am or where I came from”.
England manager Gareth Southgate said the online abuse was “unforgivable”. Captain Harry Kane also lashed out at the trolls. “They deserve support and backing, not the vile racist abuse they’ve had,” he said. He adds: “If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
The racist attacks have been strongly condemned also by the English Football Association. Its president, Prince William, said he was “sickened” by the abuse.