Former Ireland international Neil Francis has received a backlash of complaints after comparing Marcus Smith’s skin tone to an ‘Oompa Loompa’.
The 57-year-old was talking on the Irish Independent podcast ‘The Left Wing Podcast’ when Francis described Smith as having a “David Beckham haircut and an Oompa Loompa tan”.
Smith was a late call-up to the squad after inspiring a dramatic Premiership title for Harlequins earlier this summer and was born in the Philippines to a British father and Filipino mother.
The fact Neil Francis said what he did is appalling, but to publish it & no one challenge him is as equally appalling. https://t.co/7idgTqoRdm
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) July 23, 2021
“We find the remarks offensive and have written to the Independent to express our deep dissatisfaction,” said a Lions spokesperson.
A statement from Harlequins also read: “Harlequins is disgusted by offensive comments made by an Independent.ie columnist regarding Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith and await a reply regarding the matter.”
Francis played 36 Tests for Ireland between 1987 and 1996 and is now receiving a lot of complaints through social media after being sacked by Mediahuis Ireland for his comments.
I see Neil Francis has gone and been an absolute melt again, to add to all the other times he’s gone and been a melt in the past (many).
— Duncan Casey (@BigDunc123) July 23, 2021
I remember when Neil Francis has a problem with Teddy Thomas because “how can you trust a man who wears a bun in his hair” so hearing him scoff about half-Filipino Marcus Smith’s “oompah loompah tan” isn’t that much of a surprise. pic.twitter.com/97ZYndHXu7
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) July 23, 2021
Neil Francis sacked.
Apologies issued to Marcus Smith.
Luke Fitz reportedly cleansing his timeline.
This wasn’t a single incident from Francis and he certainly isn’t the only one at the Indo pushing these angles on stories.
This is a culture issue not a personnel one.
— Overthehillprop (@Overthehillprop) July 23, 2021
Mediahuis Ireland, publisher of https://t.co/FXhLAjRvTC, has decided to end Neil Francis’ contract.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) July 23, 2021
Neil Francis sacked by the Independent pic.twitter.com/KUiTsTtxHd
— Joe Naughton (@JosephNaughton4) July 23, 2021
Irish rugby pundit Neil Francis has just referred to 22yo mixed race Quins star Marcus Smith as having an ‘oompa loompa tan’😑
This is the same Neil Francis who made homophobic comments a few years ago
I’m so tired of guys like him having platforms. Where are the consequences!? pic.twitter.com/ASCmJRGuPwADVERTISEMENT
— Jack Duncan🔻 (@JackDunc1) July 23, 2021
— Ryan Price (@davesparade) July 23, 2021
— Cammy Black – Scottish Rugby Podcast (@CammyBlack) July 23, 2021