If I was hired to create an anti-racism campaign for a sport with a serious racism problem, the absolute last thing I would do is plaster monkeys all over the damn place in an effort to make my point. But because we live in a world fraught with poor decisions from painfully obtuse white people, Italian football league Serie A actually paid somebody to create this:
As CNN explains, this artwork—designed by artist Simone Fugazzotto—is somehow supposed to deter racist soccer fans from being racist.
Because nothing says “Hey guys, could you maybe not harass our black players with monkey chants today?” like the cast from The Planet of the Apes modeling an unreleased SnapChat filter.
To make matters worse, Fugazzotto went peak “All Monkeys Matter” while explaining the rationale behind his artwork.
“I’ve always been painting monkeys for five to six years, so I thought I’d make this work to teach that we’re all apes,” he told reporters. “So I made the western monkey—white with blue eyes—the Asian monkey—with almond eyes—and the black monkey in the middle, which is where everything comes from, this is what the evolutionary theory tells us.”
He added, “The monkey becomes the spark to teach everyone that there is no difference. It’s not that one is man and one is monkey. At this point, we are all monkeys [...] if they really feel the need to tell a black (player) that he is one.”
We’re all monkeys, dammit! Not just black people!
Naturally, nobody is going for this shit and plenty of folks have taken to Twitter to share their collective outrage and disgust:
Even soccer agent Jen Mendelewitsch took a shot:
“Please tell me this is a joke,” she tweeted.
For his part, Fugazzotto is “completely shocked” at the backlash and essentially deployed the “I’m not racist, you’re racist!” defense.
“To understand this work, you need to enter into my world and see the monkey as the protagonist of my artwork over years,” he said in an email to CNN. “And as a metaphor of the human being.”
Serie A has yet to address this mess, but I think it’s safe to say that this campaign was a resounding failure.