By Kelvin Larmy
It was a moment that shocked European football. Christian Kabasele, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scored for Genk against Standard Liege in October 2015 and celebrated with a monkey imitation. His celebration was in protest of the monkey chants he’d been subjected to by some Kortrijk fans in September 2015 in another Belgium Pro League game.
The Belgium Pro League did not immediately respond to CNN Sport’s request for comment, though the Royal Belgium Football Association pointed to projects that it has introduced to combat racism earlier this year.
However, Kabasele, who now plays for Watford in the English Premier League, says the racist abuse he’s received over social media is often worse than when he’s been targeted in the stadium. ‘It’s quite crazy’ The 29-year-old has been a strong voice in the fight against racism given his experiences during his professional career.
Kabasele says he’s received numerous abusive posts on his personal social media accounts and the Watford player urged platforms to do more in tackling the issue. “When you’re in the stadium, the fact that you are surrounded by other people, you just disconnect your brain and you do something stupid,” Kabaselse told CNN Sport back in March, before the interruption of the Premier League season due to the Covid-19 pandemic as he reflected on some fans’ racist behaviour.
“But when you write something on Instagram, or on Twitter, you have time to think about what you are doing and it’s worse than something happening in a stadium. “It’s quite incredible that somebody can think about doing this. Like this player did this so I will go on my phone and send him bananas or a monkey emoji. It’s quite crazy.”
Kabasele, who has played twice for Belgium’s national team, has reported such posts in the past, but says he has been disappointed by the lack of action from different platforms, such as Instagram , on occasions.
Following the 2015 incident in Belgium, Kabasele posted a picture of himself with a monkey. He asked in his post if he “looked like a monkey.” Kabasele told CNN that Instagram deleted his post, saying the footballer had broken their rules.
He also said that he’d been targeted multiple times on the social media account, adding that whenhe reported the racist posts he was told the platform didn’t see it as offensive.