The owner of a Portuguese café has been forced to apologise after selling biscuits shaped to depict Cristiano Ronaldo having sex in an attempt to make light of the rape allegation he faces.
Jose Goncalves made and sold the biscuits at Our Taste of Portugal café in Worcester, claiming that they were intended as “a joke” and that “everyone is making [fun] of the situation”.
Outrage at Goncalves’ actions spread on social media after a BBC radio report about the cookies, leading him to post a response to the criticism on Facebook.
“I love Cristiano Ronaldo,” he wrote on the café’s official page. “I'm going to defend Ronaldo because I believe in his version.
“Our idea was to make 30 cookies and play with the situation with our friends and clients in which it was well accepted and everyone found joke. One day only!
“I'm sorry if I made people feel bad. I just have to say sorry to everyone.”
Images of the cookies attracted swift condemnation, with Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre coordinator Lydia Johnson saying: “Rape and sexual assault is never something that should be joked about or made light of - it's really disappointing to see this happening.
“It's not surprising that people struggle to disclose abuse and report to the police when people are turning rape allegations in to a joke.
“However, we know that victims who choose to speak out about abuse and get support should be enormously applauded for their bravery, because it takes a huge amount of courage to do that.
“We will support people whether they have reported to the police or not.”
Ronaldo vehemently denies the allegation, made by Kathryn Mayorga, that he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 and then dispatched a team of “fixers” to obstruct the criminal investigation and trick her into keeping quiet as part of a confidential settlement, which resulted in her receiving a payment of $375,000.
Mayorga’s lawyer is disputing the validity of the settlement, which was first revealed by German publication Der Spiegel in April 2017. Las Vegas police confirmed earlier this month that they have reopened a sexual assault case from 2009 that corresponds with the date of Mayorga’s allegation.
Several of Ronaldo’s sponsors, including Nike and EA Sports, have expressed concern at the allegation, while charity Save the Children told The Independent earlier this month that they are “disheartened” by the situation. Juventus, however, have responded by issuing an unequivocal public backing of their superstar forward.