The Juventus Women team’s Twitter account shared a since-deleted racist note with an accompanying image that it says was “not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones.”
On Thursday, the official Twitter account for the women’s soccer club based in Turin, Italy, tweeted out a snapshot of a player appearing to wear an orange soccer cone atop her head while pulling the corners of her eyes. Both the gesture and the look of the cone evoke racist Asian stereotypes.
The tweet was also captioned with a laughing emoji and two hands to signify the eye-pulling gesture.
It remained on the account’s page for more than 20 minutes before being deleted, leaving plenty of time for the internet to screenshot it and make it viral.
After its deletion, the group issued a statement on the account “sincerely” apologizing and insisting that Juventus “has always been against racism and discrimination,” adding the hashtag ”#DifferencesMakeTheDifference.”
The apology did not explain where the image came from or how it was “not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones” when such a gesture is inherently racist. Juventus told HuffPost it had no further comment.
In response, many people on Twitter ― particularly those within Asian communities ― have spoken out against Juventus’ tweet and subsequent apology:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.