International soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has been attacked in social media over his participation in an Israeli commercial.
The 31-year-old Portuguese player is starring in a new ad for Israeli cable company HOT, alongside three Israeli comedians. In the ad, the three Israelis, sporting exaggerated footballer hairdos, relish their ability to watch Ronaldo’s moves in unparalleled speed using HOT’s 200MB cable connection when they are approached by their team’s most recent acquisition — Ronaldo himself.
They then debate which is faster — the legendary player on the field or their newly improved internet connection. In doing so they seemingly offend Ronaldo, who they then attempt to pacify. “Faster than Ronaldo!” the announcer then exclaims.
The football player appeared to be pleased with the ad, posting a link to it on his Twitter account. While the post was liked by 5.6 thousand people, negative reactions weren’t far behind.
One user commented: “You spelled ‘OCCUPIED PALESTINE’ kinda weird there.”
Another wrote: “WTF İSRAEL ? MY İDOL İS MESSİ NOW U ARE SHİT”
Many others responded with the hashtag #freepalestine. The tweet soon became a battleground between Israeli supporters and detractors.
International celebrities who express support for the Jewish state or simply cooperate with Israeli ventures are often faced with intense backlash from pro-Palestinian activists and groups. Activists from the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, most notably former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, often try to pressure international artists to cancel performances in Israel.