Arsenal fan and Bollywood star Esha Gupta has been slammed online after sharing racist remarks aimed at Alex Iwobi on Instagram, describing the Nigerian as a ‘gorilla’.
The Indian actress is a well-known Arsenal fan and has been spotted at the Emirates Stadium watching games in the past. She was also reported to have previously been dating Hector Bellerin and helped the club launch a kit in 2017.
However, after the Gunners’ FA Cup defeat by Manchester United on Friday night, the 33-year-old posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation between herself and another person on Instagram. She has 3.4million followers on Instagram and 412,000 on Twitter.
The image showed messages exchanged between herself and Varun_Gupta17, with one of the messages reading: ‘Solves our winger issues. I can’t see that gorilla faced Iwobi running down the flank again. He’s so bad ya.’
She replied: ‘Hahahahahaha I honestly dunno why they don’t bench him more.’
Varun_Gupta17 added: ‘It’s like evolution stopped for him. Didn’t change from Neanderthal to man.’
Gupta quickly deleted the screenshot from her Instagram account but eagle-eyed fans had quickly managed to screenshot before it was taken off the site.
After coming under fire on social media for the post she issued an apology and insisted there was no racial intention behind it.
Gupta wrote: ‘Guys I’m sorry you thought it was racist. Was bad on my part, being a sports lover. Wallah never meant it. Sorry guys forgive the stupidity.
‘Well it was my fault. So gotta own up to my s***… sorry. It was us discussing our frustration during the game. Sorry as I didn’t realise it was directed towards racism.
‘Laughed over spur of the moment, which was the games result guys. Been victim of racism myself before. But this is not something I’m proud of. It was a fault, sorry guys.’
Fans were quick to condemn Gupta on social media as she received major backlash for her post.
@Keiron85 tweeted her: ‘Your response is embarrassing! You state on one hand you’ve suffered racism yet on the other have no idea that you’ve made a racial slur!
‘Your ignorance and arrogance of this whole situation is beyond words! Please remove gooner from your profile! Your [sic] not part of our club/family’.
Meanwhile, @FootballDadUK added: ‘Do us all a favour and never step foot at Arsenal and take the word gooner out your bio as you definitely ain’t [sic] one of us.’
An Arsenal spokesman said: ‘This person is not an official club ambassador and we totally condemn racist language of this nature which has no place in our game or society. As a club we work hard to break down barriers and ensure everyone feels part of the Arsenal family.’