Fox Sports has apologized after an image of Adolf Hitler was Photoshopped into a sketch on the “Sunday Night with Matty Johns” show.
The controversy began as a result of the “Fan in the Stand” promotion put on by the Australian National Rugby League. The promotion made it so fans could pay 22 Australian dollars to have lifesize images of their face put onto cardboard cutouts and placed in the stands since the games can’t have real fans.
While most fans followed the rules, others decided to troll. In one instance, a fan used the face of British serial killer Harold Shipman, so he appeared in the stands.
In an apparent attempt to make fun of the fact that some had used joking images of fans in the stands, the “Sunday Night with Matty Johns” show inserted an image of Hitler into the stands. The image was not used as an actual fan in the stand and was instead created by someone who works on the show.
Viewers quickly noticed the image of Hitler and began to voice their complaints online.
Fox Sports issued an apology later in the day.
“We are very concerned by an incident involving an inappropriate image shown as part of one of our live shows discussing NRL crowd cut-outs. We are currently reviewing the circumstances and examining the action we need to ensure those involved understand it is not acceptable. We sincerely apologize for the offense the image has caused.”
Matty Johns issued a personal statement through Fox Sports , and took responsibility for the image.
“The segment on my Fox League show on Sunday in which we showed an image of Hitler in crowd cut outs was in poor taste and completely inappropriate,” Johns said. “I know Fox Sports has apologized but I need to personally step up to this. I know how raw and devastating those events remain for so many people and families. I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologize to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment. I’ve reached out and spoken directly to Vic Alhadeff at the Jewish Board of Deputies this morning to apologize to the Jewish community and I’ll be apologizing on air to all our viewers on Thursday night’s show.”
As for the NRL, the league said it will review the process behind the “Fan in the Stand” promotion.
“We are reviewing the vetting process for Fan in the Stand,” an NRL spokesman told The Guardian . “The weekend was a trial run and trials are designed to iron out issues.”
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