Anthony Joshua has found himself in yet another race row after fans took his Black Lives Matter speech to mean a ‘boycott of white shops’ on social media.
Firstly, Joshua took to the microphone in his hometown of Watford over the weekend to air his views at a protest of the death of George Floyd.
In an impassioned address, the heavyweight champion read a pre-prepared statement but also veered off in his own direction.
“We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations, just like this today.
“If you want to joke about who I am, where I come from, my heritage, my lips, my nose, my skin, the food I eat, don’t feel too comfortable around me.
“Because I’m proud of who I am.
“We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting. We need to be united in the non-violent demonstrations, show them where it hurts.
“Abstain from spending your money in their shops, and spend in economies that invest in black businesses. And that’s for all communities if you want to uplift yourself. Invest in your own businesses,” he said.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) June 7, 2020
What happened afterward has seemingly hit a nerve with the Londoner, who hit back at critics who labeled him a ‘hypocrite’ and ‘disgrace’.
Many were unhappy as what they construed as Joshua calling for a ban of ‘shopping at white stores’, given that the two-time ruler has made millions from ‘white-owned’ sponsorship deals.
It certainly didn’t take long for the 30-year-old to respond.
He said: “If you think I’m a racist, go f*** yourself!
“If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read. I took the lead.
“I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community. Ideas of us personally investing seven figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.
“Shops aren’t the issue here. Before you talk s***, you better boycott racism.
“I said what I said and I will act to make change.”
A wave of criticism of what some are calling a ‘boycott whites’ slant by Joshua, has followed. Name-calling aimed at AJ has again dented his once-pristine reputation.
It’s not the first time or the second time that Joshua has been involved in such an incident after previous statements reportedly pushing a narrative of ‘superior black race’ during an argument with fellow-pro Eddie Chambers.
Similarly, a Snapchat quip on Robert Mugabe also brought criticism. He blamed the post on another member of the Anthony Joshua team.
As a result, the boxer could face a further backlash from previous supporters. It may not go away quietly this time.