Danish TV slammed for comparing Moroccan World Cup team to monkeys

3/14/2023 4:55 PM

A Danish TV channel was slammed for comparing Moroccan players' wholesome celebrations with their mothers at the Qatar 2022 World Cup to monkeys.

The channel TV 2 has now apologised for the “inappropriate and offensive comment” from a host.  

On a news show, host Soren Lippert held an image of a group of monkeys huddled together, which colleague Christian Høgh Andersen commented on, saying it resembled Moroccan players hugging their mothers during the World Cup celebrations.  

The channel said in a statement: “TV 2 NEWS host Christian Høgh Andersen draws a line between staying together as a family to the next topic about animals. Unintentionally, this becomes a comparison between Morocco's national football team and their families, and a picture of a monkey family that host Søren Lippert presents for the following topic.

“This can be perceived as a racist comment, and both TV 2 and Christian Høgh Andersen would like to give a profound apology for that.”

The Moroccan players' celebrations with their families during their successful run to the World Cup semi-finals was a highlight of the tournament, showcasing the respect and elevation Islam has for mothers.  

Outrage over ‘racist’ comments  

Users were outraged by the comparison on social media, with many calling it “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

And some have noted that this is not the first time European media has slipped into making seemingly racist and xenophobic comments.

A German channel received backlash for making the ignorant comment that some Moroccan players were making the "Islamic State gesture" in reference to photos of them raising their index fingers after their quarterfinal win. In Islam, the raised index finger is often used to affirm the belief in the oneness of God.

Another German media outlet criticised the Moroccan team’s support of Palestine, calling the Palestinian flag at the World Cup as "orchestrated hostility towards Israel." Palestinian flags have been flying high and proud during this year's World Cup, with fans openly showing solidarity and support for the country.

Meanwhile, before the tournament started, a cartoon by a French newspaper depicting Qatari footballers as terrorists sparked anger with many calling it racist and Islamophobic.  

Qatar is the first Arab and Muslim country to hold the World Cup and it has come under significant criticism. Many say the hostility towards Qatar is unprecedented and smacks of hypocrisy, given the human rights records of other countries that have hosted the championships.

Despite initial criticism, the Qatar World Cup 2022 has been a huge success on and off the pitch and has been dubbed the "Best World Cup ever."