The rugby community has come out to roundly condemn racist abuse directed at Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt, who has asked for help to track down the person or persons behind a fake account that has been directing vitriol in his direction.
Hewitt, who has been at the forefront of championing the anti-racism movement in the sport, was tagged by an account that presented itself using racist imagery and words, following the Dragons defeat to Scarlets in the PRO14.
Hewitt responded to the Tweet, asking Twitter to help track him down the person responsible: “This is what a Rugby fan somewhere (in Wales I think) wants me to see after a game.
“Pleaaase someone find out and tell me who it is.”
This is what a Rugby fan somewhere (in Wales I think) wants me to see after a game.
Pleaaase someone find out and tell me who it is. pic.twitter.com/4WGXZ0eyXB
— Ashton Hewitt (@ashton_hewitt) January 1, 2021
Hewitt received windfall of support from the rugby community on Twitter, who roundly condemned the behaviour.
“This is disgusting,” wrote Nigel Owens. “Stay strong mate and hope they find this person and he is dealt with and name and shamed too. Some of these idiots like this one on social media should be banned for life from it.”
Dragons hooker Richard Hibbard wrote: “It is wrong on so many ****ing levels, about time you need Identification to sign up to social media, and be accountable to the awful things you say and do!
Ashton Hewitt should never have to put up with awful shit like this!”
South Wales Police have asked Hewitt to report the matter: “Hi Ashton. We’ve been made aware of your tweet, and we’re very sorry to hear about this. If you’ve not done so already, please don’t hesitate to contact police and we can discuss. Take care.”
Hi @ashton_hewitt we’ve been made aware of your tweet, and we’re very sorry to hear about this.
If you’ve not done so already, please don’t hesitate to contact police and we can discuss. Take care. #diolch ^sf
— South Wales P?lice (@swpolice) January 1, 2021
“This is disgusting!,” wrote Scarlets player Marc Jones. “What plonker would go out of their way to create this. Stay strong and hopefully the person gets a good roughing up by the guards.”
This is disgusting! what plonker would go out of their way to create this. Stay strong and hopefully the person gets a good roughing up by the guards.
— Marc Jones (@Marc_jones2) January 2, 2021
Hewitt’s former head coach at Dragons, Bernard Jackman wrote: “So sorry [Ashton Hewitt] that you have to face this nonsense. Twitter can you help trace the owner of this account and get the police involved ?”
— Bernard Jackman (@bernardjackman) January 2, 2021
The matter has now been reported by Dragons Rugby to the police. The region issued the following statement: “Dragons Rugby is disgusted and appalled at an abhorrent racist post on social media yesterday evening targeting Ashton Hewitt.
“Dragons finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour totally unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
“The individual who expressed these views does not represent the values of our game. We thank supporters who have also condemned this post on social media and shown their support for Ashton.
“Dragons take all reports of hate crime extremely seriously. Such behaviour has no place online, in our stadium, in our community or in our game.
“As a region, Dragons Rugby celebrates equality, diversity, respect and inclusion, we firmly stand behind Ashton and continue to fully support his outstanding efforts when trying to eradicate racial prejudice wherever it exists. This is a constant battle for Ashton and the region recognises how difficult the past few months have been for him.”
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