70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has clarified his stance regarding not kneeling for anti-racism protests ahead of Grands Prix.
Charles Leclerc has angrily responded to social media comments suggesting that he is racist, due to his refusal to kneel for anti-racism protests ahead of each Grand Prix this season.
Leclerc is one of seven drivers who have opted against taking a knee in support of the gesture, with Formula 1 emphasising an inclusive image this season. An anti-racism ‘We Race As One’ stance has been taken, with demonstrations from the drivers occurring ahead of each race so far this season, spearheaded by Lewis Hamilton.
Leclerc has stated that he isn’t comfortable with kneeling, explaining to Italian media that he doesn’t want to kneel as some anti-racism protests have been violent: “I’m against racism, I fight it and I’m glad F1 is using its platform to show the world the right way,” he explained to Gazzetto dello Sport.
“But I didn’t want to do that because there have been many protests all over the world associated with violence, and I don’t accept any form of violence. And I don’t like a civil protest to be used by politicians.”
However, his stance has been questioned on social media, with some commenters suggesting that Leclerc is not as behind the anti-racism movement as his public image implies.
Taking to Twitter, Leclerc angrily attempted to clarify his position, saying: “It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist. I am not racist and I absolutely hate racism. Racism is disgusting.”
“Stop putting me in the same group as these disgusting people that are discriminating others because of their skin colour, religion or gender. I’m not part of them and I never will. I’ve always been respectful to everyone and that should be the standard in today’s world.
“And to whoever is using my image to promote their wrong ideas, please stop. I’m not into politics and I don’t want to be involved in that.”
Speaking at the FIA Press Conference on Thursday at Silverstone, Leclerc said he finds the statements to be unacceptable: “I just don’t want to be judged anymore.”
“As I have said many times, I am quite active on social media and I do not accept to be called the way I have been called in the last few weeks, negatively obviously, just because of not kneeling.
“That’s it. I just wanted to make a straight-forward tweet just to express my feelings and that is it.”