Sunday 20 October 2019

Anthony Joshua criticised for ‘insensitive’ comments over Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegations

Anthony Joshua. John Walton/PA Wire
Anthony Joshua. John Walton/PA Wire

Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua has been labelled “inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful” by a rape victims’ group for praising Cristiano Ronaldo amid an investigation over sexual assault allegations.

The world heavyweight champion revealed his admiration for the Juventus star for “still smiling,” as well as claiming the 34-year-old is being “f****d by women and tax.”

Ronaldo has denied raping Kathryn Mayorga in Las Vegas in 2009, with a police investigation ongoing. While he accepted a fine and a suspended jail sentence earlier this year for tax fraud in Spain.

“I’ve always said two things you’d get f****d for as an athlete is women and tax, he’s got f****d for both and he’s still smiling, still strong,” Joshua said during a promotional event in New York for his fight against Jarrell Miller.

“You need mental strength, he’s proved that. He’s a family man, he’s got that aspect, but still out working and he’s dedicated to what he does.

“So as a sportsman he’s had the issue of one side, he’s got the family on the other side, and he balances what he’s passionate about.

“He completes all the packages, so I like Ronaldo for that reason.”

Joshua’s comments have been criticised by Rape Crisis England and Wales.

“It’s inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of sexual violence and abuse in any context,” said national spokeswoman Katie Russell.

“Arguably, those in the public eye, who may be considered a role model to many, including impressionable young people, have a particular responsibility not to trivialise such serious issues.

"Experiences of sexual violence and abuse can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on victims’ and survivors’ health, lives and relationships.

“As a society, we need to develop more empathy and understanding about that if we are ever to see more of those impacted by sexual violence and abuse get the support they need, want and deserve.”

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