Watford player Andre Gray has been slammed over his much publicised ‘racist and homophobic’ tweets which he posted back in 2012.
The Championship footballer has been forced to address his past offensive tweets as he waded into a heated colourism row.
The Watford forward come out in defence of his Little Mix singer fiancee as she was criticised over her upcoming BBC documentary, titled Leigh-Anne: Colourism and Race.
This row started because of controversy involving Rochelle Humes, who was wrongfully accused of ‘replacing’ author Candice Braithwaite as presenter of an upcoming Channel 4 documentary about Black women and their higher mortality rate during childbirth compared to white women.
Talk got heated over whether Leigh-Anne is the right person to present a discussion about colourism when she herself is a mixed race light skin woman, so her fiance Andre Gray stepped in to defend her.
However, one Twitter user shared a screenshot of a tweet Andre wrote in 2012 and said: ‘Black girls with red lip stick is like burnt toast with jam on it #leaaaaveityeahhhhh.’
‘This you?’ the woman asked.
Another old tweet of his read: ‘Is it me or are there gays everywhere? #Burn #Die #Makesmesick.’
Andre replied: ‘Yes that was me! Never hid from it, i was part of the problem of this whole issue but this is not the argument, its about people tryna bring my fiancé into s**t for sharing her experience on race and using her platform.’
The Twitter user then said: ‘Also, that tweet is an example of colourism. Many are confused why Leigh-Anne is leading a conversation on colourism when you, her fiancé, have tweeted colourist things and never really apologised to black women. Will she address this in the documentary?’
However, Andre stated: ‘She is leading a conversation because she has the platform to do it, or maybe a black women in a similar position as her didnt [sic] want to do it who knows? I have apologised, and yes it is addressed in the documentary among alot of other things.’
Another social media user got involved, claiming that they couldn’t find examples of Andre’s apologies, to which he insisted: ‘Ive done alot of interviews on it,’ adding that he ‘don’t need no PR for nothing’.
The 29 year old footballer, went on to explain that he lacked ‘education’ when he sent those tweets and was ‘ignorant’.
‘Lets have the conversation cause i aint hiding away and never have from what ive said,’ he said. When one fan asked if he now understood his privilege as a mixed race and light skin man,
Andre replied: ‘Yes i understand of course, and so does leigh anne! Again, i educated myself because i wasnt educated on any matter of race growing up and didnt feel how darker skinned people would of felt because i had that light skinned privilege so its not ironic, i grew up and learnt.
‘I was 100% part of the problem, you need to see the documentary first before passing judgement tho.’
In 2016, Gray made to an apology for the series of offensive comments, saying in a statement: ‘First I want to offer a sincere and unreserved apology to anybody I may have offended in relation to these tweets.
‘The tweets were posted four years ago when I was a completely different person to the man I am now.
‘I can assure everybody that I am absolutely not homophobic, and as said previously I can only apologise and ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.
‘Thankfully I am not the guy I was back then and will continue to work hard both on and off the pitch to become a better person.’
Andre, who played for Burnley at the time, ended up getting charged by the Football Association in relation to the tweets and fined £25,000 while also being banned from four matches.
Leigh-Anne’s sister Sairah Pinnock also defended the pop star against the social media criticism.
‘Don’t ever question my sisters intentions because she’s out here doing a lot for the black community, more than most,’ she said.
Sairah added: ‘“Light skinned Leigh-Anne”has chosen to use her platform to showcase the depths of colorism and has always identified that her experiences are minor compared to those of darker women. Rather than say nothing she chose to portray this in her documentary.’
Metro.co.uk reached out to Watford FC who declined to comment as well as Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s reps.
Gray insists he is not hiding away from his responsibilities after an extended spell of poor form and recent off the field problems.
He has twice broken lockdown protocol in the last year, and was fined by Surrey police, while on the pitch he has scored just three goals in 43 appearances across the last two seasons.
“I’m nearly 30 years of age, I can own up to my mistakes and I feel like I have done,” said Gray. “I made the mistake twice, it’s stupid. I’m not going to make excuses for it. I’m not going to hide behind anything. I’ve made two mistakes and I have to face up to it and be honest with myself. On the day I broke the rules and I need to be a man and take what came of it.
“I can’t justify what I did, I can’t make excuses and say this, that and the other because I’m in a position of responsibility and I didn’t show that. All I can do is apologise.”