French football star Antoine Griezmann has disappeared under an avalanche of hostility on Twitter after he tweeted a selfie of himself "blacked up" as an NBA basketball player.
The 26-year-old Atletico Madrid striker, coveted by Manchester United who are set to make a bid for him in the summer, donned blackface as a party costume December 17.
Griezmann, who was also wearing an afro wig and holding a basketball in the photo, posted the selfie along with laughter emojis and wrote that he was going to a 1980s party.
Surely someone could have advised Antoine Griezmann that this may have been a silly idea… pic.twitter.com/ujsrJMnOEM— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) 17 December 2017
Unfollow me if you laughed at or are defending the blackface picture Antoine Griezmann posted. Absolutely disgusting.— mariah (@mariahsapenguin) 17 December 2017
But several people responded negatively to the picture and others urged him delete the tweet.
It's deeply distressing to see people defend anyone doing blackface in 2017. It's not about being a so-called 'snowflake' or 'PC.' It's simply wrong in every single way. Period. Antoine Griezmann should have known better. #Griezmann— Adnan Riaz (@AdnanRiaz9) 18 December 2017
'Calm Down Friends'
"Calm down friends, I'm a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It's a tribute," tweeted Griezmann, in a reference to the legendary basketball stunt team of the 1970s and 80s.
But he later tweeted an apology.
Je reconnais que c’est maladroit de ma part. Si j’ai blessé certaines personnes je m’en excuse.— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) 17 December 2017
[Tweet: "I recognize it's insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I'm sorry"]
There is no suggestion Griezmann is a racist, and he plays alongside non-white players both at his club side and for the national team.
Some people on social media came to his defense and claimed that it's not considered racist for black actors to dress up as white people.
I doubt Antoine Griezmann is a racist I think he’s just really ignorant though.— Fantasmita🇺🇸🇸🇻 (@JacobRam95) 18 December 2017
There has been a growing sensitivity in recent years against the idea of dressing up as black people — often known as blackface.
As recently as 1978 the BBC broadcast a program, the Black and White Minstrel Show, in which white people "blacked up" with black face paint and white lips to sing and dance.
But the show was taken off air and in 1993 US actor Ted Danson was heavily criticized after he appeared in blackface delivering a risqué sketch written by his then girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg.
Any reason why Chelsea are now favourites to sign Antoine Griezmann?? 👀👀— BolasieOnTheBreak (@FinKitch) 17 December 2017
Last month a British bonfire society in Lewes, East Sussex, agreed to drop their tradition of dressing up as Zulu warriors for the traditional Guy Fawkes Night celebration.
Both Snapchat and FaceApp have been criticized this year for producing filters which allowed people to change their skin color by use of a filter.