UPDATE, 07:38AM: Sugar has subsequently apologized and deleted multiple tweets on the subject, “I misjudged [my] earlier tweet. It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly my attempt at humour has backfired. I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry.”
The BBC said in a statement, “Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet, and he’s in no doubt about our view on this. It’s right he’s apologised unreservedly.”
Piara Powar, executive director of anti-racism group Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe), told the BBC that Lord Sugar’s “stereotyping of a whole race” was “disgraceful and damaging”.
EARLIER STORY, 04:23 AM: ‘You’re fired…’ Alan Sugar, the UK business magnate and face of the BBC’s The Apprentice, has come under fire for what many are calling a ‘racist tweet’.
In the tweet, under a picture of the Senegal soccer team, Sugar wrote: ‘I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi tasking resourceful chaps.’
Sugar went as far as inserting images of fake sunglasses and handbags under the feet of the players as if they were selling them. Among hundreds to express anger over the tweet to Sugar’s 5.47M followers was BBC newsreader Babita Sharma, who called the post “shocking and vile”:
Actress Kelechi Okafor called the message “crude” and “casual racism”:
Sugar initially expressed bemusement over the response but then deleted the message, which has been widely picked up on by UK media:
This isn’t the first time the billionaire businessman, who has played the Donald Trump role in the UK version of The Apprentice since 2005, has found himself in hot water for his social media activity.
In 2012, Sugar was referred to the UK Attorney General for a possible contempt of court because of a tweet. In 2013 he was investigated by police after a complaint was made about a tweet depicting a crying child, apparently of Chinese origin, along with the caption, ‘The kid in the middle is upset because he was told off for leaving the production line of the iPhone5.’ Earlier this year, after complaints from Labour politicians, Sugar deleted a tweet showing a photoshopped image of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a car with Adolf Hitler, which he had tweeted after allegations emerged of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
Senegal beat Poland 2-1 in their opening World Cup game on Tuesday meaning they currently sit top of their group alongside Japan. They also became the first African team to win at this year’s tournament.