The international payment giant MasterCard has decided that it is going to suspend its marketing campaign with Neymar, currently embroiled in a rape scandal, the Brazilian media report. The football superstar, who is MasterCard’s ambassador, was supposed to promote the company during the upcoming Copa America, set to start on 15 June.
“We have a series of marketing campaigns planned to be linked together during the Copa America but we have made the decision to suspend all of them, including Neymar as our brand ambassador, until the issue is resolved”, the company’s statement reads, according to Spanish outlet AS.com.
MasterCard, however, did not delete a promotional video for Copa America, featuring Neymar, from its Twitter account.
Additionally, recent reports by Fox Sports Asia have suggested that the embattled footballer’s major sponsor, Nike, might cancel its contract with Neymar, depending on the rape investigation’s results. The sportswear apparel maker earlier issued a statement, noting that it is “very concerned by the recent allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation”.
Meanwhile, Neymar’s other sponsors, such as McDonald’s, Gillette, and Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, have also reportedly distanced themselves from the football star pending the probe’s outcome.
The accusations against Neymar surfaced last week, even though the alleged incident took place on 15 May in a Paris hotel. According to a document obtained by the Associated Press, the PSG star met the woman in question there after exchanging Instagram messages. She later told the police that he arrived at the hotel “apparently drunk”, they “touched each other” and that he then became aggressive and had violent sexual intercourse with her against her will.
The accuser, 26-year-old Brazilian model Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza then spoke out on the network SBT. She admitted that she liked Neymar and wanted to have sex with him, but says that the situation changed after their first meeting at a Paris hotel when he became aggressive. According to her, after some kissing, “he started to hit me… then he began to hurt me a lot, and I asked him to stop because it hurt”. Trindade also threatened to make public the video of the alleged sexual attack in a bid to destroy Neymar’s career, the Daily Mail reported.
While Neymar’s father has insisted that his son was being blackmailed, the football star took to social media himself with a now-deleted seven-minute video to strongly deny Trindade’s allegations and insist on his innocence. He likewise shared what seemed to be their private exchange on WhatsApp, with the accuser apparently sending him nude photos of herself, as well as a couple of sexts.
Neymar is now facing a police probe in Brazil for releasing the woman’s intimate photos without her consent following the publication of those images and messages in the video, which were subsequently deleted by both Instagram and Facebook over policy violations.
Later alleged footage of a man, who is believed to be Neymar, being beaten by a woman, who is said to be Trinidade, surfaced online.