Lord Sugar’s “racist” tweet was “ignorant and hurtful”, and he should be fired, the Senegalese president’s adviser has said.
The Apprentice star was forced to apologise after he shared a photo on Twitter of the Senegal football team likening them to migrant men selling sunglasses.
Sugar initially refused to apologise, claiming he thought people’s reactions were “OTT”, but later removed the post after increasing pressure.
He said in a statement: “I misjudged my earlier tweet. It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly my attempt at humour has backfired. I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry.”
Ndongo Ndiaye, the adviser on youth and sport to the country’s president Macky Sall, told The Times that everyone at the team’s base camp in Russia was talking about the tweet and it had made the headlines back in Senegal as well.
He said: “I think it is very ignorant from someone in his position. Of course, there must be freedom of speech but this was wrong and it is hurtful to the players and people from Senegal. If I was his boss, if I was responsible for him, then I would fire him.”
He added that the Senegal team had been made to feel very welcome and everyone had been “very friendly” in Russia, despite warnings they could face racism.
He said: “Instead of this ignorant tweet I prefer to think of a video that has been popular in Senegal from our first match which shows a fan from Australia and a fan from Senegal meeting for the first time, deciding to swap shirts and then hugging. This is what the World Cup should be about, bringing people together.”
Although Sugar is the face of The Apprentice, he is not actually an employee of the BBC, which airs the show.
Nevertheless, there have been calls for him to be fired from all his television roles but the BBC have chosen to stand by him.
In response, the BBC released a statement, which said: “Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet and he’s in no doubt about our view on this. It’s right he’s apologised unreservedly.”