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Estate agent suspends employee over racist tweets targeting England stars

Andrew Bone claims offensive tweets were sent from his account after it was hacked (Picture: Reuters/Getty)

An estate agent has suspended one of its employees over racist tweets targeting England players after their Euro 2020 defeat to Italy on Sunday night.

Prince William, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and captain Harry Kane were among the public figures to condemn the vile abuse aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka in the wake of their missed penalties in the shoot-out.

Social media users quickly began flagging offensive tweets and accounts, including one belonging to Andrew Bone, working for UK-based estate agent Savills.

The company responded by launching an investigation into the ‘appalling’ comments. Mr Bone claims his account was hacked and has contacted the police.

The company said on Twitter: ‘Savills is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce. A full investigation will be carried out in regards to this unacceptable incident.

‘Savills abhors and has zero tolerance to any form of racism and racial discrimination and is appalled by the racist comments in these tweets. Savills is immediately investigating and will take appropriate action.’

They later confirmed that ‘the staff member connected with the racist comments’ claimed ‘his account was taken over by a third party’, adding that the matter had been passed on to police.

Andrew Bone

Mr Bone has also contacted police over the comments (Picture: Zhivko Mironov)
Marcus Rashford looked crestfallen after his missed spot-kick (Picture: Reuters)
Teammates rally around Bukayo Saka (Picture: Reuters)
Gareth Southgate consoles Jadon Sancho (Picture: Reuters)

The estate agent added: ‘Savills has acted swiftly and confirms that the individual is suspended from duty pending the findings of this investigation, which is being progressed as a priority.’

The Twitter account appears to have been deleted by Monday night.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association, said he was ‘sickened’ by the widespread social media abuse, which England manager Gareth Southgate said was ‘unforgivable’.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, Mr Johnson told the trolls behind racist tweets to ‘crawl back under the rock from which you emerged’.

The FA condemned the ‘appalling’ tweets, saying that ‘anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team’.

It pledged to ‘do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible’.

More than half a million people have signed a petition calling for people who racially abuse footballers to be banned from grounds for life.

Twitter said it had proactively removed more than 1,000 posts over the past 24 hours which violated its policy and also taken swift action to permanently suspend a number of accounts.

A Twitter spokesperson said: ‘The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter.

‘In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules – the vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology.

‘We will continue to take action when we identify any Tweets or accounts that violate our policies.

‘We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour – both online and offline.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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