Star Sports has found itself on the receiving end of a backlash following a recent Tweet that the site posted. The bookmaker has had to apologise after an image of a fan attending a darts contest was posted on their Twitter feed showing a man blacking-up as politician Diane Abbott. The post made by the bookmaker appeared on the feed on Friday evening. The photo comes from a darts competition, where the man is seen wearing blackface and is also holding up a placard displaying the numbers “190”.
The sign may have been criticising the shadow home secretary in relation to her grasp of numbers (obviously the maximum score from three darts stands at 180). However, the fact that this man is wearing blackface in the image and the thoughtlessness of the bookmaker to Tweet it has outraged many people. The image also came with the caption of
An early contender for best fancy dress costume at the #PDC #WorldDartsChampionships tonight at #AllyPally.
Following the influx of criticism from the online community, which was led by Abbot’s colleague from the Labour party Stella Creasy, the betting site took the Tweet down and apologised. A post on Sunday from the bookmaker stated that while it had made the post, it wasn’t intended to cause anyone any offence. The humorous part – in the site’s eyes – was the “190” on the placard held up.
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It was Ms Creasy who went on to accuse the company of “promoting casual racism” in a response to the Star Sports post. Another colleague, David Lammy wrote that he couldn’t believe that a bookmaker in 2017 is “sharing photos of someone in blackface and then telling people to stop taking it so seriously”.
However, the Labour home secretary also received support from outside the area of politics. Both actress Nicola Thorp and The Voice series 3 winner Jermain Jackman condemned the actions of the sportsbook. Meanwhile, the producer of Talk Sport radio Sal Ahmad mentioned that the bookmaker “should know better” than to post something of this nature.
It’s not the first bookmaker to spark racism controversy either. Earlier on in 2017, popular bookmaker Paddy Power received backlash against an advertisement for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight in August. In the ad, there was an image of Mayweather right next to the caption, “Always Bet on Black”. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) went on to ban the advertisement from being used.