Antoine Griezmann has privately apologized to Rakuten’s CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, over a video which featured him and Ousmane Dembélé engaging in what the businessman termed “discriminatory remarks.”
The viral video showed Dembélé complaining to Griezmann, as the latter laughed, about hotel workers in Japan.
“All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES,” Dembélé says in a video shot by the winger himself.
The workers are apparently helping him set up a game of Pro Evolution Soccer in his room.
“What kind of backward language is that?” Dembélé asks after hearing them speak in Japanese.
He continues: “Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?”
Mikitani wrote over Twitter: “As a club sponsor and tour organizer, I am very sorry that the FCB players made discriminatory remarks. Since Rakuten has endorsed Barça’s philosophy and sponsored the club, such statements are unacceptable under any circumstances and we will formally protest the club and seek their views.”
According to a new report, Griezmann asked for forgiveness from Mikitani, although he maintained that he was only laughing in the video. Still, he recognized that the behavior shown in the video was wrong, and for that, he would apologize.
Griezmann and Dembélé also publicly apologized, but that has not stopped the controversy nor has it stopped the Japanese company Konami, makers of PES, to stop sponsoring Griezmann.
FC Barcelona did make a statement, saying: “Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann displayed a lack of respect in their attitude towards several employees in the hotel in which they were staying. This attitude in no way coincides with the values that FC Barcelona represents and defends.”
The club also reportedly privately met with both players to communicate to them that their behavior was unacceptable.
But the controversy is showing no signs of subsiding. Now, another video with racist content featuring Griezmann is getting attention. This one does not feature Dembélé, but it takes place around the same time as the other video - during Barcelona’s tour in Japan.
Griezmann uses an affected accent and casually speaks in gibberish, apparently mocking the Japanese language. He is heard saying “ching chong,” a term generally regarded as racist used to mock Asian languages.