Brazilian Youtuber João Cocielo is being asked to pay a fine of R$7.4m (£1.36m) after being accused of writing racist tweets about the Paris Saint Germain star Kylian Mbappé.
The case happened during the World Cup, when France beat Argentina 4-3 in the round-of-16. On that day, social media went crazy after an incredible run from the striker which ended up winning a penalty for France early in the match.
“Mbappé could do a top theft on the beach, huh,” Cocielo tweeted soon after the play. The word he uses about the crime is ‘arrastão’, a traditional method of stealing on Brazilian beaches in which young boys use their speed to steal belongings of tourists and run away.
Right after tweet, several followers pointed out that it sounded racist, which led the youtuber to delete it. But it got worse when people started digging up old tweets, and found many other racist jokes made by him.
Soon after the episode, Cocielo lost several sponsors. Big brands like Coca Cola, Adidas and Gillette released official statements saying they do not agree with such behaviour and would not be making further campaigns with him. He currently has over 17m followers on Youtube.
As reported by Estadão, the Public Ministry of São Paulo asks Cocielo to pay for collective social damages. The case says: “This is a young black player, Frenchman of Cameroonian descent, of robust physique and who showed, in the games of the French national team in the World Cup of Russia, impressive speed and explosion, thus resulting, in notorious manifestation of racism, his association with the robbers (black, in the author’s optics) who commit crimes of robbery on Brazilian beaches, especially in Rio, always under continuous and unstoppable run.”
The Public Ministery now waits for the judiciary to break Cocielo’s bank secrecy to prove he can afford the fine. He’s accused of violating fundamental rights, human rights, the Federal Constitution and International Human Rights Treaties.
The video below is where he apologizes for his actions.