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#WeAreAllMonkeys (#SomosTodosMacacos in Portuguese) is a hashtag campaign started by Brazilian football star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior on Instagram in protest of racist hooliganism directed toward his teammate Daniel Alves in April 2014.
On April 27th, 2014, a season match between the Spanish football teams Barcelona FC and Villareal FC was held at the El Madrigal stadium in Villarreal, Spain. During the match, a supporter of Villareal tossed a banana at the feet of Barcelona’s defender Daniel Alves, which is a common racist taunt used by hooligans towards non-European football players. Despite the insulting nature of this gesture, Alves calmly proceeded to pick up the banana and eat it on the field (shown below).
The hooligan was subsequently identified as a 26-year-old Villareal FC fan David Campaya Lleo and apprehended by the police, while a club spokesperson for Villareal FC later issued a statement that the individual has been banned for life from entering the El Madrigal stadium.
Racist Hooliganism in Football
In a number of European football leagues, racist hooliganism towards non-White football players has long been regarded as a serious issue, one of the most common offenses being the use of the racial slur “monkey” or similar gestures, such as tossing bananas at ethnic players and making monkey-like noises. The phenomenon has been publicly discussed as early as in September 2005, when French footballer Thierry Henry raised the issue during an interview on HBO’s Real Sports.
That same day, the footage of Alves’ clever response was subsequently uploaded to YouTube, gaining more than 863,000 views in the first 48 hours. Also on April 27th, Alves’ teammate Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior posted a photograph on Instagram in which he is shown holding a banana with a young boy, accompanied by the hashtag #weareallmonkeys (shown below). Within 48 hours, the post gained more than 558,000 likes.
Immediately after posting the photo to Instagram, Neymar tweeted a link to the picture which garnered more than 7,100 retweets and 4,100 favorites in 48 hours. According to the Twitter analytics site Topsy, the hashtag #weareallmonkeys was tweeted more than 97,800 times and the hashtag #NoAlRacismo (#NoToRacism in English) was tweeted upwards of 66,000 times that week.
Also on April 27th, 2014, Brazilian singer Michel Teló posted a photograph of himself holding a banana in protest of racist hooliganism on Instagram (shown below, left) with the hashtag #sodostodosmacacos (#weareallmonkeys in English). On the following day, Brazilian singer Gaby Amarantos posted another banana selfie on Instagram (shown below, right). By April 29th, the photos gathered upwards of 15,000 and 6,200 likes respectively. Additionally, over 110,000 photos were shared under the tag #sodostomosmacacos and more than 15,000 photos were shared under the tag #weareallmonkeys.
Shortly after the viral takeoff of #WeAreAllMonkeys, FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) president Joseph S. Blatter tweeted a message condemning the act of racism directed at Dani Alves as an “outrage.”
DaniAlvesD2</a> tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WorldCup&src=hash">#WorldCup</a>.</p>— Joseph S Blatter (SeppBlatter) April 28, 2014
Ad Agency Collaboration
On April 30th, the Spanish newspaper AS News reported that the viral anti-hooligan campaign was actually planned in advance by Neymar and Alves in collaboration with the Brazilian marketing agency Loducca. According to the translated excerpts from the original article, Guga Ketzer, a partner at Loducca, told AS News that the Brazilian football stars began brainstorming a clever way to address the issue after experiencing similar racial abuse during a match earlier in March.
“A gesture needs no translation and what we’re seeing is that this has gone viral, globally. The idea was for Neymar to eat the banana, but in the end it was Alves, and that works just the same… We created #SomosTodosMacacos and #WeAreAllMonkeys, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement.”