QPR have strongly condemned the “abhorrent” online abuse aimed at forward Bright Osayi-Samuel following Tuesday’s game with Norwich.
Osayi-Samuel, 22, highlighted the abuse on his Instagram account, saying: “It is disgusting and painful to be receiving messages like this.” Some of the abuse revealed by Osayi-Samuel was racist in nature while other messages wished him ill and even death.
Osayi-Samuel scored a late equaliser from the penalty spot and then missed another chance in the 1-1 Championship draw at Carrow Road.
The QPR chief executive, Lee Hoos, said: “We completely deplore the abhorrent abuse Bright has been subjected to. It astounds me that people feel they can freely post such comments without any fear of reprisal. We are working with Instagram and asking them to assist us in identifying the individual concerned. I do feel social media platforms have a duty of care to its users who are victimised in this way.”
QPR’s director of football, Les Ferdinand, wants more action taken to prevent online abuse. Ferdinand said: “This type of abuse on social media is too commonplace and has to stop. In a society that now rightly places greater importance on mental wellbeing than ever before, how can people be able to set up anonymous social media accounts? This will continue and continue until we stop it from being possible. I believe governing bodies across sport – not just football – need to come together to create a powerful voice which calls for social media platforms to change their stance.”
Norwich offered their support to Osayi-Samuel, writing on Twitter: “No one should receive abuse like this. Our thoughts are with Bright at this time. Win, lose or draw – we’re all on the same side.”
The anti-discrimination body Kick It Out has also called for Instagram to make changes to its platform to prevent abuse. Its chair, Sanjay Bhandari, said: “The abuse that Bright Osayi-Samuel received on Instagram last night was unacceptable. We want to see this matter investigated and the appropriate action taken against the individual behind this post.
“We also believe Instagram need to review their policy for direct messages and consider cutting them off, unless accounts are following each other. It isn’t right that anyone can send abusive messages to whoever they want, especially when there is a solution to prevent it.”