Controversial former football pundit Matt Le Tissier has once again caused outrage on social media after sharing an image appearing to compare the plight of the holocaust to the present day situation of wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Le Tissier, who was recently sacked from his position at Sky Sports as a long-serving TV pundit on popular football show Soccer Saturday, has remained outspoken on several contentious issues throughout the year.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Le Tissier re-shared an image which had been posted by a user in response to a video showing a police officer challenging a member of the public on a train about the failure to wear a protective mask.
The image used showed holocaust victim Anne Frank, with words above which read: ‘The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. The people who killed her were following it.’
But his attempt to challenge whether laws should be blindly followed backfired badly – with the example he used judged completely inappropriate.
The outspoken Matt Le Tissier has once again caused a huge storm online due to his views
The post showed an image of Anne Frank, along with a caption regarding her treatment
Le Tissier also faced controversy over Black Lives Matter pin
The pundit also faced criticism earlier this year for his stance on Black Lives Matter, after claiming TV bosses asked him to wear a badge during Soccer Saturday.
Speaking to MailOnline on June 30, Le Tissier said he was completely against racism but did not agree with some aims of the protest groups.
Matt Le Tissier said he would a Black Lives Matter badge (circled) on Sky Sports but did not support their anti-capitalism aims
He said bosses at Sky had asked him and other pundits to wear the logo for their appearances and he agreed, but pointed out he supported ‘the cause, not the organisation’.
Speaking outside his home near Southampton, he said: ‘I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti capitalist points are things I do not agree with.
‘They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit. I think a lot of people in the country would agree with me.
‘I will still wear the badge because I do of course believe black lives matter. It’s a simple thing, I agree with the cause but there are parts of the organisation that I just cannot support.’
When asked whether pundits on Sky Sports had been told to wear the badge, Le Tissier laughed and said: ‘We were asked to wear it.’
Sky Sports said none of the presenters were obliged to wear the badge.
Le Tissier re-shared the image on his personal Twitter account and added: ‘Remember this.’
A huge backlash immediately followed, with Twitter users giving Le Tissier a piece of their mind and strongly condemning his actions.
TV judge Robert Rinder was among those to slam the Southampton FC ambassador, branding the tweet ‘stupid, stupid, stupid’.
Robert, aka Judge Rinder lost seven of his family members to Nazi death camps.
His grandfather Morris Malenicky was taken to Schlieben concentration camp in Germany, where he was forced to work producing missiles for the German army.
He wrote: ‘I’d say more about how painfully insensitive this is but sometimes things are what they seem and people are who they seem to be. You are Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!’
The TV judge was not alone in condemning the tweet and others were appalled that Le Tissier would invoke the Holocaust to support his views.
When pointed out by one user that the reference to the wearing of face masks had been inferred by the original post, which was posted under the video of the train altercation, Le Tisser doubled down and responded: ‘No mention of masks from me or the quote. So some leap.’
Another direct response to Le Tissier read: ‘Perhaps you’re being ignorant rather than deliberately offensive but please don’t invoke the Holocaust to support your crackpot views about masks. Thanks in advance,’ to which the former Southampton player simply responded with a series of laughing faces.
While Le Tissier did not delete the post, he did eventually backtrack on its intended meaning.
Following up, he wrote: ‘This appears to have got a lot of bots and trolls tweeting me about about masks! Yet I’ve just checked again and still I find no reference to masks in the original tweet!.’
One user responded: ‘I mean, the post you’ve quoted is a reply in response to someone being removed for not wearing a mask. There’s the reference.’
Another said: ‘I seriously hope you take some time to do some reading on the Holocaust and the rise of the Nazis. There’s a Holocaust memorial centre in Nottingham, not too far away. Maybe pay it a visit one day. After that, I think you’d understand why you should apologise for this tweet.’
As the critcism poured in Le Tissier attempted to point out he had not mentioned masks
When challenged about the Holocaust reference, Le Tissier replied with laughing faces
The incident joins a long line of controversy courted by Le Tissier, the most recent of which in the form of his questioning of the support of his former employers Sky Sports for the Black Lives Matter movement, and declaring he would be re-evaluating his personal stance.
The 51-year-old hit out at the movement’s ‘far-left ideology’ – as black footballer Karl Henry also branded the group ‘divisive’.
Last month Le Tissier announced he would be temporarily quitting social media, saying he had been repeatedly targeted by cyber bullies who were attempting to force him out of his job.
Throughout the year Le Tissier had repeatedly remained vocal on the topic of the global coronavirus pandemic, making questionable comments regarding the way the situation should be handled.
He urged fans to ‘look beyond the headlines and government propaganda’ and talked up the topic of herd immunity.
In the wake of personal criticism, the retired playmaker released a lengthy statement detailing his position, before later going on to deny that he identified as an ‘anti-vaxxer.’
Le Tissier had wrote: ‘Yes I’ve made mistakes and errors of judgment in the past, which I regret, but I believe the good I’ve done far outweighs the mistakes.
Last month Le Tissier was axed from his role as a pundit on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday show
Jeff Stelling, who anchors the popular show, described it as ‘one of my saddest days ever’
Le Tissier broke his Twitter silence on Wednesday to thank those who he has worked with
‘I have huge sympathy for anyone who loses someone close to them by whatever health reason, I recently lost my grandad so I know how it feels.
‘You trolls and bots out there who try to belittle me with your snide remarks trying to make out I’m some uncaring individual who has no empathy, you couldn’t be further from the truth and I feel incredible sorry for you that there is so little joy in your life that you resort to this.
‘I truly hope you find happiness soon.’
After being sacked by Sky Sports on August 26, Le Tissier issued a short statement online which read: ‘Enjoyed my time at sky sports, time to look forward to life’s next challenge, thank you for the support down the years and special thanks to the backroom team… good luck all have a lovely day.’
His dismissal was followed by strong words from Ian Wright, who criticised the ‘racially driven’ abuse of black and female pundits after Sky Sports’ decision to part way with Le Tissier as well as colleagues Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas.
The three former footballers were familiar faces on Soccer Saturday each weekend for viewers, who tune in for live updates on the scores up and down Britain.
But a revamp has seen Le Tissier, 51, Thompson, 66, and Nicholas, 58, axed from their roles ahead of the coming season on the show hosted by Jeff Stelling, 65.
The likes of black ex-footballers Micah Richards, 32, Alex Scott, 35, Clinton Morrison, 41, and Sol Campbell, 45, have been suggested as their possible replacements.
But the changes faced huge criticism, prompting former Arsenal striker Wright, 56, to pull over his car and post a heartfelt video online people to stop their ‘racism’.
Wright said: ‘The racism is going through the roof today. Can somebody just answer me this: What does Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Sol Campbell, Clinton Morrison, or any other black pundit have to do with Sky’s decision to get rid of these guys?
‘All because three middle-aged white guys have got the sack. I kiss my teeth, say raasclaat and all that sort of stuff. What have they done, what have these guys done?
‘Because a black person or a woman might get the opportunity to do this job. They might get a chance to do this show. Why are people upset?’
Le Tissier remains out of football work since, though still remains an official ambassador of Premier League side Southampton.