A Welsh football fan has now raised £27,000 for a young German girl who was relentlessly mocked online following her country’s defeat to England in the Euros.
Joel Hughes, 51, started a fundraiser to ‘show her not everyone in the UK is horrible’, after she was shown crying on TV and became the subject of a number of nasty tweets.
He has fetched far more than his initial £500 target, but he still hasn’t been able to get hold of the girl’s family.
But Joel, from Newport, says he has ‘strong leads’ and is in touch with a number of German journalists about the issue.
If he can’t find the family or if they don’t want to be involved, he says he will donate to a ’cause that is closely aligned to the spirit of the campaign’.
Joel was inspired to start the JustGiving page after seeing a number of abusive and xenophobic comments following Germany’s 2-0 defeat on Tuesday at Wembley.
A picture of the crying girl being consoled by her dad quickly made its way around social media, with users calling her a ‘Nazi slag’.
One person wrote ‘Cry you little Nazi’, while another said: ‘I’m sorry but I laughed at the German Girl crying… Couldn’t help it, I have no compassion and are a 60-year-old immature England fan.
‘I have now had a chance to reflect upon this behaviour and sadly are still laughing now.’
Another commenter said everyone in the pub cheered when the girl’s face came on screen and that one person shouted ‘f**k off you little c**t’.
Hughes himself has also become the victim of online abuse, with many people taking exception to him trying to raise money for a child victim of cyberbullying.
He shared one message he received, which said: ‘You f**king weirdo I hope all your family getting [sic] Covid and dies the most painful death.’
Explaining why he set up the page, he tweeted: ‘This shouldn’t have to be said but here goes… The campaign is NOT just about a little girl crying because her team lost a football match.
‘It is about: calling out vile online social media abuse; trying to add a voice of positivity into these increasingly intolerant times; intolerant, divisive times that are actively encouraged by our shambolic gov; show the world and our European friends and neighbours that the highly visible, and highly vocal negative minority in the UK do *not* represent us all. And that there is goodwill left (sic)’.
Joel told BBC Wales that he’s ‘had enough of’ xenophobia in the UK, and that he thinks it has ‘turned into such an intolerant country’.
He added: ‘We have a vocal minority of idiots who are swamping out the good in the UK and they’re ruining our perception on the world stage and they’re ruining our relationship with our friends and partners in Europe.’
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