Culture Sports

Anti-Italianism on Social Media: The Case of Marcus Stroman

In recent weeks, several high-profile names, most notably Kanye West and Kyrie Irving, have come under fire for antisemitic comments that have become the forefront of discussion for media outlets. Understandably, many Jewish individuals are upset with the latest disrespect that these personalities have shown to their culture, and major companies have taken notice. In the wake of these hurtful statements, brands like Balenciaga, Gap, and Adidas, to name a few, have already cut ties with the hip-hop rapper.

These celebrities are not completely ostracized, though, as a handful of individuals have actually defended their actions.

Let’s use Marcus Stroman as an example, who posted several comments that appear to be in support of Kyrie Irving in the aftermath of the controversy, which stemmed from his sharing of a known antisemitic film called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America…”

…In addition to liking tweets from users claiming that Kyrie Irving is simply “learning his history…”

This is not the first time that Marcus Stroman has liked tweets that disparage a particular ethnic group. The MLB pitcher received criticism last year over his Twitter activity when he liked a post calling Anthony DiComo, a Mets beat writer for MLB.com, a “wop,” which is a popular slur used to refer to people of Italian descent.

This instance of anti-Italianism was quickly called out by Marc Carig, Deputy Managing Editor of The Athletic:

Instead of apologizing, Stroman chose to deny the authenticity of the screenshot taken by Carig, stating that “This is one of MANY photoshopped pictures of my “likes.” The fact that you’re passing this judgment while believing a fake picture is ridiculous. Be better and do some research before believing everything you see!”

Yet, the well-respected writer was willing to put his reputation on the line to confirm that Stroman did indeed like the tweet:

Carig continued to say that “Yeah, I found it on Twitter, and screenshotted it. What’s ridiculous is that you’d attempt to make up a story about me Photoshopping something. You liked a Tweet calling a writer an ethnic slur. Be better.”

The columnist wasn’t the only person to call out the slur, as New York sports personality Andy Martino also noted his disappointment with Stroman’s actions:

Despite the backlash, Stroman was not the recipient of anywhere near the same level of scrutiny or consequences as his celebrity counterparts. Not only did the Twitter exchange receive little media coverage, but the 2019 MLB All-Star still enjoys the same portfolio of brand partnerships such as his relationship with Therabody. These deals provide him with a nice additional stream of income at his fingertips – the same fingertips that he uses to like hurtful remarks about Italian Americans.

This would make any reasonable person question: What are the exact criteria that need to be met for brands to take action against influencers who make or support harmful statements directed at a particular community?

Unfortunately, it appears that harboring anti-Italian sentiment does not fit the bill. 

For more information on the pejorative term “wop” and its origins, please refer to the Instagram post below:

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