Rachel Riley has come under fire for a tweet in which she mocked an ‘Arsenal fan in India’.
The Countdown star has been accused of racism following the tweet, which came after she was branded a ‘plastic glory hunter’ by Supriyö Banerjee, who lives in Kolkata.
Riley, a huge Manchester United fan, tweeted: ‘For an embarrassing amount of this season I’d convinced that Wan Bissaka’s first name was Obi. Just me?’
Mr Banerjee, who has Arsenal in his Twitter handle and calls himself a ‘Gooner’ in his bio, replied: ‘no.every man utd fan is like that.plastic.gloryhunter [sic].’
Riley – who is from Essex, but whose father is originally from Salford – quote-tweeted the post and wrote: ‘Says Arsenal fan in India’, followed by crying laughing emojis.
Mr Banerjee replied: ‘do you think being in india make me any less of a fan??’, before tweeting: ‘i am ashamed of her. as arsene once said “if you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid and not more intelligent”.’
He also explained that while he supports Arsenal in Europe, Mohun Bagan AC in Kolkata is his local team.
Rachel, 34, was called out for her post, with many claiming it was racist to suggest that an Indian could not support Arsenal from another country.
Football journalist Dale O’Donnell called it an ‘awful take’, while one tweet read: ‘Nice comment from someone championing anti-hate campaigns.’
Another person asked: ‘What’s him being in India got to do with anything? You can be in a different country and still be a real fan you know that?’
talkSPORT’s Phil Brown tweeted: ‘‘What’s so funny about this? Perhaps I’m being obtuse as you say in not recognising your right to insult someone about where they are from & what team they support. Is it just India & Arsenal you have an issue with or is it all foreign nationals who support English teams?’, and claimed that he had been blocked by Riley following his reply.
However, others supported Rachel and claimed the tweet was just ‘banter’, with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeting: ‘Stupid people are claiming this is a racist tweet. It isn’t. It’s a joke and it’s not aimed at Indian people. Anyone who thinks it is racist is an idiot. @RachelRileyRR don’t let the lunatics get you down.’
Following the criticism of her post, Rachel tweeted: ‘For the wilfully obtuse…
‘It might be considered ironic, for someone supporting a club half way around the world, to call someone else a “plastic glory hunter”.
She also responded to a person who tweeted: ‘Wait… I’m a Man United fan from Indonesia. The game I chose to support the club in was when we were trashed 3-0 by Chelsea . This was before I knew EXACTLY how big of a club Man United was. I mean, I know I’m not from Manchester but I fell in love with the club… :/.’
The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant wrote: ‘That’s wonderful. I’ve met United fans in the jungles of Borneo and remote villages in Ecuador, can find common ground in football worldwide. I don’t care where people are from, support who you want to. People who go down the “plastic glory hunter” route are always just jealous.’
Rachel – who last year welcomed her first daughter with husband Pasha Kovalev – has previously caused controversy with her tweets, despite being one of the celebrities who fronted a campaign to silence social media trolls.
Back in November 2019, the star was accused of erasing Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-apartheid message as she wore a t-shirt with a Photoshopped image showing the former Labour leader holding a placard reading: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted Riley’s rep for comment.
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