Estate agent accused of 'appalling' racist football tweet claims his phone was hacked

·3-min read
A Savills property estate agent is seen in south London, Britain September 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Estate agent Savills says it is investigating claims one of its employees posted racist abuse aimed at England players. (Reuters)

An estate agent has suspended one of its employees over a racist tweet that was sent targeting Black England footballers after the Euro 2020 final defeat.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who all missed penalties in the shootout defeat to Italy, were subjected to online racist abuse after Sunday night’s match.

A male employee of estate agency Savills has been accused of tweeting a racial slur to refer to the three players.

His original tweet has been deleted, as have his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, although the post was screengrabbed and widely shared and condemned on Twitter.

After announcing they were investigating the employee on Monday morning, the estate agent announced it had suspended the individual and referred the matter to Greater Manchester Police.

The company, which has more than 100 offices throughout the UK, said the staff member connected with the racist posts "claims that his Twitter account was taken over by a third party".

The statement adds: "Savills has acted swiftly and confirms the individual is suspended from duty pending the findings of this investigation, which is being progressed as a priority."

It added: “Savills has a policy of zero tolerance on any form of racial abuse or discrimination.”

Watch: Boris Johnson condemns racist abuse of England players

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said it will be investigating “offensive and racist” social media posts directed towards members of the England football team following the match.

In a tweet, the force said: “We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the Euro 2020 final.

“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”

Twitter said it had proactively removed more than 1,000 posts over the past 24 hours that violated its policy and also taken swift action to permanently suspend a number of accounts.

“The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 England's Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho about to check in Pool via REUTERS/Andy Rain
England players Jadon Sancho, left, and Marcus Rashford were subjected to online racist abuse. (Reuters)
England's Bukayo Saka stands dejected after missing during the penalty shoot out following the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
England's Bukayo Saka after his penalty miss against Italy at Wembley on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Facebook, which owns Instagram – said on Monday: “No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram.

“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.”

The three players have also received a deluge of online messages of support from fans, footballers, politicians and the Duke of Cambridge.

Boris Johnson condemned the racist abuse, but football pundit Gary Neville was among those to criticise the prime minister for refusing to condemn people who booed the England players taking a knee before the tournament began.

The abuse has also been condemned by the FA, UEFA, Southgate and the England team.

Watch: Gary Neville criticises Boris Johnson after racist abuse of England players

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