F1 stars Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell join social media boycott

All three drivers will be joining leading football clubs and sporting associations in the social media blackout despite F1’s refusal to join

Hannah Jane Prydderch
Friday 30 April 2021 13:11

British Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell have announced they will be joining leading sporting clubs and national bodies in a social media boycott during the Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend.

The boycott of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram includes leading Premier League and Women’s Super League clubs, the national FAs, UEFA, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the English, Welsh and Scottish rugby associations amongst others, as well as Formula One’s British broadcasters Sky Sports.

It begins at 3pm BST on Friday 30 April and ends on Monday 3 May at 11:59pm BST.

The decision to join the boycott was led by Mercedes driver Hamilton, who has been the voice for change and activism within the Formula One paddock through his work championing the Black Lives Matter movement and increasing diversity within the sport.

In a statement on social media, the seven-time world champion said: “There is no place in our society for any kind of abuse, online or not, and for too long it’s been easy for a small few to post hate from behind their screens.

“While a boycott might not solve this issue overnight, we have to call for change when needed, even when it seems like an almost impossible task.

“Sport has the power to unite us. Let’s not accept abuse as part of the sport, but instead, let’s be the difference for future generations,” he added.

He will be supported by McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams’ George Russell.

Norris’ statement said: “Everyone struggles with abuse on here at some point and social media companies need to do more to tackle it.

“Hiding behind a keyboard is not okay. Enough is enough,” the 21-year-old added.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Russell also announced he would be joining his fellow drivers earlier this morning.

“I thought it was important to do so because there is far too much online abuse, hatred, negativity, racism that is just undeserved.

“I feel like it’s our duties to raise as much awareness as possible, not just within sport but within all walks of life. Doesn’t matter how old or young you are or what background you are from, just to spread positivity and be nice to one another.

“I feel strongly about this and I felt like it was my duty to be a part of this cause so I hope you appreciate my views and my opinion and hopefully we can all make a change,” the 23-year-old said in a video on social media.

Contrastingly, Formula One has said that although they support those taking part in the boycott, they will not be joining them.

In a statement, they said: “F1 is wholly committed to combatting any form of discrimination, online or otherwise.

“We support the actions of the Premier League and other sporting bodies and athletes in highlighting that more must be done to eradicate online abuse that they are receiving directly. We continue to work with all platforms and our own audiences to promote respect and positive values and put a stop to racism.”

Formula One gets underway this weekend at the Algarve International Circuit. Hamilton is currently only one point ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

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