EE call out homophobic langauge in football with GayVAR campaign

By on Monday, February 27, 2023

Mobile network company calls in the help of Joe Cole and Tom Allen to highlight the ongoing prevalence of homophobic hate in football

EE Hope United launched a brand new campaign campaign last week called: GayVAR. Hope United was first started ahead of the men’s Euros in 2021 with the aim of tackling all forms of online abuse, and returned the following year for the women’s Euros, with a focus on addressing sexist hate. In their latest campaign latest campaign, GayVAR draws awareness to homophobic abuse within football.

Clips were also released from the Premier League weekend to show the spike of abuse within this particular time period.

Following a survey which found a shocking 71 per cent of people agreeing that homophobia remains a problem in the sport, the campaign encourages fans to call out and challenge abuse particularly when they see it online.

The campaign sees Joe Cole and comedian Tom Allen discussing the homophobic language within football in a number of videos. The first videos in the campaign were launched on Friday evening ahead of Wolves’ trip to Fulham.

Tom Allen said:

‘The fact that language associated with homosexuality is still bandied around as an insult in 2023 is frankly ridiculous, and calling it out is a big first step to removing this stigma.

‘Gone are the days of passing it off as ‘banter’: it’s time people realised the far-reaching impact this kind of abuse can have. Calling someone ‘gay’ for example should never be a negative thing – if anything it’s a compliment, and I’m living proof of that. I’m fabulous, right?’

More research from EE research found that 40 per cent of Brits agree social media exacerbates the issue of homophobic abuse in football, but 27 per cent failed to take action against it when witnessing it.

The campaign has been launched alongside Football v Homophobia (FvH). It is an international initiative which challenges discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football. The launch of the campaign also lands on LGBT history month (1st to 28th  February)

On the campaign, EE director Pete Jeavons said:

‘The fact that Hope United is now on its third iteration demonstrates that the nature of online abuse is as varied as it is abhorrent.

‘As long as online hate exists, Hope United will have a role to play, and EE will continue to use its platform to help create a more inclusive digital society.’

FvH director Lou Englefield added:

‘Fans, players, clubs and brands are in such a strong position to put a stop to homophobic abuse, and share the fact that it’s as simple as putting your hand up and saying “that’s not ok”. Football should be for everyone and this is the key message everyone should share.’



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