Celtic FC supporters angered by their one of their club’s non-executive directors’ support of the British government’s tax credit cuts have directed antisemitic abuse at him online, it has emerged.
The Glasgow club’s fans take pride in the club’s history of supporting people in poverty, and most of the anger directed toward Ian Livingston has been expressed in political terms.
But there have also been bigoted comments posted on fans’ forums, as the Conservative peer revealed yesterday in a message on one such forum. His comments came by way of explanation after club chairman Ian Bankier mentioned there had been “criminally racist” insults to Lord Livingston, a claim that caused uproar among the fans who felt Bankier was seeking to deflect criticism.
Lord Livingston, a prominent businessman and former chief executive of BT Group, wrote: “I hope you don’t mind me posting this. As the person about whom a number of abusive comments were made, I thought you might be interested in a couple of the racist ones so you can perhaps see why the chairman was upset about them. Michael Higgins: ‘Get this Ashkenazi c**t out of our club and take that other fake Jew prick Biton with him. This is typical of their sort, infiltrating and destroying every country and establishment from within.’ Or someone under the name Ross Grant saying ‘He’s a Jew what do you expect’.
“Many others were simply abusive, not, I assume, anything to do with my religion but rather because I had a different political view.
“Actually I wasn’t in agreement with the nature of the tax credit cuts but believed that this motion was not something the unelected House of Lords should do, so voted against it.
“No doubt some will disagree but you might consider the nature of expressing your view and whether abuse is also in line with your view of Celtic’s ethos. I have always believed Celtic fans are the best in the world and a few racist postings on social media will not change that.”
The Affiliation of Registered Celtic Supporters’ Clubs, Celtic Trust and the Green Brigade condemned the antisemitic abuse but rejected Bankier’s description of it as “criminally racist”, and called on him to “consider his position as chairman”.