It’s not my banana
Olympic legend and an MP from the United Russia Party, Irina Rodnina, published today (13th September) a racist joke on Twitter about US President Barack Obama. In response to comments from her followers Rodnina stated that the photo was «American» in origin.
The photoshopped picture, which Rodnina tweeted, showed the prototypical racist reference that black people are supposedly closer to apes than others.
Some twitter users who saw the tweet by the figure skater-cum-MP tried to show her that these type of tweets are not acceptable.
@otec_SERGIY: @IRodnina The picture is certainly funny, but I think that someone in your position, even more so as a civil servant, shouldn’t being spreading this.
@gulya_75: @IRodnina How could you, as a Member of Parliament
@CasualWebSite: Free racists jokes by Irina Rodnina
Rodnina responded to a couple of critical comments, by saying that she sees nothing wrong with tweeting the photograph as it is “American.”
@IRodnina: @semarhan no the photo is not mine, it’s American, it was forwarded to me from the U.S. :))))
@kiberdyra: @IRodnina in our country there is freedom of speech. You can take to the streets freely and gob off about the American president. A disgrace!
However, there were also positive tweets about the racist photo.
@geijrr: Cool photo :) I’m laughing :) Hey Irina) How’s your afternoon going? :) How are you? :)
@Ehduard34: @IRodnina little monkeys….))))
@Svetlyi13: @irodnina No comment ;)
The three-time Olympic champion herself decided to put an end to disputes about the acceptability of publishing the photograph by claiming it is freedom of speech.
@IRodnina: Free speech is free! You’re responsible for your own interpretations!
In the original pre-photoshopped photo of Barack Obama and his wife Michelle there was no banana. The photo was taken as part of a series of pictures taken during a basketball game at Towson University in 2011.
Bananas are often used by hooligans at football matches to insult black players. Usually berries thrown on the field or the players are deliberately wound up. In summer, the State Duma passed a new law which fines fans who are disruptive during sporting events. Bullies may face a fine of up to 10 thousand rubles, and a ban on attending such events for up to 7 years.
[Note: At the time of writing Irina Rodnina’s wikipedia page had been edited to include the word ‘ape’ instead of ‘figure skater’]