Dragons rugby player Ashton Hewitt has asked the public for help in tracking down the person behind a racist Twitter account who tagged him in a comment following his side’s loss to Scarlets in the PRO14 yesterday.
An account with the name ‘random black rugby player’, a masthead image saying ‘N****rville’ and an avatar of a golly-wog doll dressed as a rugby player tagged Hewitt, saying: ‘Ashton Hewitt missing in action again.’
Hewitt responded to the Tweet, imploring the public 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
The Dragons 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.”
The matter has now been reported by Dragons Rugby to the Police.
In June, Hewitt revealed that he was the reason why outspoken columnist Katie Hopkins was permanently removed from Twitter recently. The controversial commentator, who had 1.1 million followers, made headlines last week after receiving the ban.
The 25-year-old Dragons player Ashton shared a Tweet at the time, saying: “Didn’t realise I was actually the reason for Katie Hopkins getting suspended from Twitter.”
Didn’t realise I was actually the reason for Katie Hopkins getting suspended from Twitter ??
— Ashton Hewitt (@ashton_hewitt) June 23, 2020
The son of a Welsh mother and a British Jamaican father, Hewitt has been vocal on social media during the Black Lives Matter movement – although he had not directly clashed with Hopkins before. Hopkins also shared a video to explain her comment, saying it was “a script reference from Blackadder”.
Hewitt told the BBC Scrum V podcast earlier this year that he is not prepared to put up with racism anymore. “I have, and I am sure many young players from ethnic backgrounds have, put up with what is seen as banter and seen it as nothing,” he said.
“I have been through that in my career. As I delve through deeper issues in history and what comes behind certain stereotypes, I see the importance of addressing it and not letting those stereotypes continue. I have been guilty of letting things slide, but at the time I did not think too much of it.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now