London: Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been caught in a racism row after he featured in a commercial for a Spanish insurance firm. The commercial was pulled out by broadcasters due to its apparent racial and sexual stereotyping.
Liverpool has already been criticised for their handling of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra racism affair. They maintain that they were unaware of the Spaniard's involvement in the commercial.
The 26-second advertisement showed Reina in a jungle scene, greeted by a spear-carrying tribe and their leader. With Reina's name translated as 'Queen' in Spanish, the tribe leader suggested a sexual relationship with Reina by saying: "Me King, you Queen."
Reina responded with raised eyebrows, before sarcastically commenting: "I feel safe, la la la."
The advertisement was severely condemned by Operation Black Vote, a non-political campaign group and was subsequently removed from Spanish television.
"I'm shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals? Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina?
"The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade - does he think it's OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?" Simon Woolley, a director of Operation Black Vote, was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
Groupama defending the commercial.
"Groupama Seguros does not consider that this advert contains either offensive or any discriminatory content," the company said in a statement.