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Roma lead backlash over Serie A's controversial racism campaign

By Opta

Rome, December 17: Roma questioned Lega Serie A's controversial use of monkey artwork as part of a new anti-racism campaign, while the artist said he wanted to create something that "could make people reflect and create debate".

Serie A received widespread backlash and condemnation following Monday's launch of an initiative to combat racism in Italian football.

The symbolic heart of the new three-pronged initiative is a trio of paintings from Simone Fugazzotto, an artist renowned for using primates in his work, which will be displayed permanently at Lega Serie A's headquarters in Milan.

It comes after a number of high-profile racial incidents this season, involving Brescia striker Mario Balotelli and Inter star Romelu Lukaku.

Roma, whose Chris Smalling was also at the centre of controversy when newspaper Corriere dello Sport used the headline 'Black Friday' with the England defender and Lukaku on the frontpage to preview last month's fixture, responded to the campaign on social media.

"AS Roma was very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign from Serie A featuring painted monkeys on social media today," the club tweeted via Twitter.

"We understand the league wants to tackle racism, but we don't believe this is the right way to do it."

Fugazzotto was asked about the campaign and his artwork, and he told Football Italia: "The collaboration began in the Spring with my idea of painting this tryptic during the Coppa Italia Final, and in general give a different message that really could be incisive in the fight against racism, and not the usual slogan that, sadly, nobody pays any attention to anymore. Something that really could make people reflect and create debate."

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NUOVO REGALO 🎁 👇🏻 . . L’idea di questa campagna nasce da lontano, era il 26 dicembre ed ero allo stadio a vedere Inter - Napoli, partita incredibile decisa all’ultimo minuto dal mio Hermano @lautaromartinezz10 . Sento (ma non era di certo la prima volta) insulti e versi di scimmia contro un grandissimo giocatore, era @kkoulibaly26 . Mi sale una tale rabbia che quasi di riflesso mi arriva un idea, perché non smettere di censurare la parola scimmia nel calcio ma rigirare il concetto e affermare invece che alla fine siamo tutti scimmie? Perché se siamo essere umani, scimmie, anime reincarnate, energia o alieni chissenefrega, l’importante è sentire un concetto di eguaglianza e fratellanza. Grazie alla testardaggine mia e di @fabicutri , con l’appoggio fondamentale di @seriea e #infront abbiamo reso realtà quell’idea nata in uno stadio mesi fa. Ho dipinto il trittico in un altro stadio, l’Olimpico di Roma durante la finale di coppa Italia e l’immagine è finita a tutta pagina su @gazzettadellosport e @corrieredellosport più svariati siti e testate. Se ci credete anche voi come ci credo io condividete l’immagine con l’Hashtag #NOTORACISM e seguite le stories perché posterò le tre opere che voi potrete mettere insieme (taggatemi sarete tutti ricondivisi) come preferite e il più creativo vincerà una cosa speciale. Grazie a tutti voi, non lo chiedo mai ma in questo caso si, CONDIVIDETE 💪🏻🐵 Simone . . . . . #noracism #notoracism #simonefugazzotto #fugazzotto #fugazzottoartist #art #contemporaryart #italiancontemporaryart #saynotoracism #weareallthesame #social #gazzettadellosport #rai #corrieredellosport #raiuno #seriea #different #eyes #same #soul

A post shared by Simone Fugazzotto (@simonefugazzotto) on

Asked if he could understand the controversy, Fugazzotto replied: "Everyone is free to think whatever they want. Art has always created discussion and controversy.

"All new ways of communicating cause controversy. Oliviero Toscani did it years ago on the theme of discrimination with his advertising campaign [for Benetton, ndr] and now they are considered masterpieces. Time will tell."

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Story first published: Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 6:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 17, 2019
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