Manchester United’s LGBT+ fan group demands apology after Instagram bows to homophobes

Manchester United's LGBT fan group targeted by pathetic homophobes

The Rainbow Devils, Manchester United’s LGBT+ fan group, has demanded an apology after Instagram deactivated its account.

The group’s Instagram account was disabled on Wednesday following complaints by homophobes.

It was reinstated later the same day, however the group has asked Instagram for an apology, and for the social media site to promise this issue will not happen again to any minority group.

The Rainbow Devils said: “The fact remains however that it should never have been taken down in the first place.

“We are very grateful for the support of Manchester United and allies in the media who helped us get Instagram to take notice, but we should not have needed this help and are concerned about those in our community who face discrimination on a daily basis and cannot call on influential allies to support them.”

The LGBT+ group said it received homophobic messages after Manchester United FC unveiled a permanent banner at Old Trafford supporting the Rainbow Devils. 

“While there have been many messages of support, there have also been thousands of homophobic responses including posts threatening to report us. Evidently, these reports were successful,” the group posted after its Instagram account was disabled.

(Rainbow Devils)

Sophie Williams and Eric Najib, co-chairs of the LGBT+ group, said: “It is outrageous that Instagram have bowed to pressure from homophobic users and removed our account.

“We were subjected to thousands of vile and negative comments from homophobes across the world. 

“We are shocked that instead of deleting those comments and suspending those who sent them, we are the ones being punished.”

The banner supporting the Rainbow Devils was added to Old Trafford as part of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

The campaign began on Thursday and will run until 12 December, this year with a Lace Up and Speak Up theme, encouraging athletes to support LGBT+ issues.

Stonewall estimates that the rainbow laces have been worn by one million people in support of LGBT+ inclusion in sport, with Jordan Henderson wearing rainbow laces to score in a 4-0 triumph over Ukraine during the Euros 2020. 

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton was also recently praised for donning a crash helmet coloured with the progress pride flag ahead of the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.