‘Kick it Out’, the body responsible for tackling homophobia and racism in football, has responded to the FA’s decision to postpone the showing of a short film aimed at tackling homophobia.
In a statement today, ‘Kick it Out’ director commented:
“We believe the advertising film that has been made to challenge homophobia in football is a decisive step in the long battle to tackle homophobic attitudes, abuse and harassment.
“The project team consulted a wide range of members of the LGBT community, including formal consultations with respected charity Stonewall, campaigner Peter Tatchell of Outrage, and the Gay Football Supporters Network. All agreed the strategy and approved the script before production.
“As campaigners with a long record of success of tackling discrimination in football we know our audience well and are confident the film will have the desired impact.”
The premiere was due to take place on Thursday February 11th with a special event at Wembley Stadium.
The film, in the form of a 90-second advert, had been hailed as “groundbreaking” after a Stonewall report found that homophobia was prevalent in the sport.
There are still no out gay top-level footballers and the only one ever to have come out, Justin Fashanu, was subjected to bullying and later committed suicide.
Former NBA basketball player John Amaechi, who was involved with the project, condemned the cancellation and attacked the film as “further proof of the FA’s willingness to window-dress its most serious problems”.
He said: “The premiere of the product of two years of discussion and promises has been cancelled.”
Mr Amaechi, who has seen the film, also described it as “incendiary” and “vulgar”, adding it would be “roundly perceived as a deeply offensive ‘shock’ advert”.
He told PinkNews.co.uk it was an “expletive-laden rant” and that contrary to what was previously thought, it is not suitable to be shown on big screens. Instead, Mr Amaechi said, it is designed to be shown on the internet as a viral video.
A Stonewall spokesman commented: “Stonewall believes that the ads have the potential to be hard-hitting and effective.
“We hope the time of this postponement will be used to strengthen the urgent intervention needed of homophobia in football.”