A Spanish television commercial for international insurance group Groupama starring Liverpool goalie Pepe Reina has been pulled from the airwaves due to a backlash featuring complaints and accusations that the ad was racist and homophobic.
Operation Black Vote, a British campaign group, led the charge against the ad, arguing that the spot “depicts black people in a jungle scenario as stupid, backward, animalistic homosexuals.”
In the ad, Reina is introduced to a tribal king. Reina’s surname, which translates into English as “queen,” is made reference to and the implication that the tribal king wants to take Reina as his queen is implied.
While Groupama elected to pull the ad, a statement was nevertheless issued denying that the ad was racist or homophobic, which read: “Groupama Seguros does not consider that this advertisement contains either offensive nor any discriminatory content.”