19 Mar 2018

Why Belgian football gave in to a pro-women protest

Belgium's national football team, the Red Devils, had commissioned a rapper to write their anthem for the 2018 World Cup, but the Belgian football association ended up dropping the artist because of his obscene and sexist lyrics.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Why Belgian football gave in to a pro-women protest - NewsMavens
Damso. Facebook

Why this story matters:

Initially, it was only local women's groups who protested with an open letter to the Belgian Football Association, at which point the latter refused to back down.

But when Coca-Cola, Proximus and Adidas asked the association to end its relationship with the rapper -- whose lyrics have come under fire as degrading and misogynistic -- they complied.

"We especially wish to apologize to all those who felt offended, discriminated against or diminished by the choice of the artist in question," the association said in a statement.

It wasn't that the association suddenly realized that the rapper, Damso, can't be a role-model if he uses lyrics that insult women. What prompted their break with him was the realization that the team could lose money -- and lots of it.

Some say the Women's Council "won." There are no winners here.

And the reaction of Damso himself? "Free advertising for me," he wrote on his Twitter feed.

XX news, gender,human rights

The Damso affair:

  • Last autumn, the royal Belgium's football association asked the popular rapper Damso to produce the World Cup song.
  • On International Women's day, several women's groups published an open letter to the chief executives of football sponsors, asking them to drop the Belgian team, the Red Devils, saying Damso's songs "express hate, abuse and violence towards women."
  • The football association refused to give in, saying would not be taken "hostage" by pro-women groups. It also noted that Damso is a "proud father of a young girl" and an "example of integration."
  • A few hours after its public declaration, the association announced that it had ended its collaboration with Damso "by mutual agreement."
  • Politicians claim they forced the football association to "find wisdom."
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