Outrage after Island visitors heard spewing racial slurs at South Shore hotel

Rugby participants accused of making racist remarks, while player alleged to have exposed himself reported to have left Island

Believed members of a visiting rugby team taking part in this year’s World Rugby Classic Bermuda have been alleged to have made racist remarks during a brief visit to one of the Island’s South Shore hotels by a former high ranking officer of a Government quango.

A social media post by Roxanne Christopher a former Bermuda Economic Development Corporation Economic Development Officer, who is now a life insurance professional and chairman of Teen Haven, posted the allegations on Facebook, asserting at least two overseas players to have made racial slurs regarding the number of Black people they’d encountered after being driven to Coco Reef in Paget on Saturday night, where she was attending a friend’s birthday party.

“It’s with a heavy and conflicted heart that I share the experience that myself and others encountered last night,” read Ms Christopher’s post. “At aproximately 12.30 am, I was assisting at an event at Coco Reefs Hotel and I was responsible for managing the entrance.

“Two large black taxis pulled up and scores of rugby players on Island for the upcoming games exited the vehicles.
“The players all were gathering around the door to peek at the happenings then stepped to the side and unapologetically said, ‘there are too many n—–s here’!
“Another one of them spoke up, was pointing and also repeated in the affirmative”

Ms Christopher noted her shock upon hearing the xenophobic utterances being used to describe the Black Bermudian attendees attending the function, along with the hotel’s security staff, before the players returned to their waiting transport vehicles and left.

She added how, as the men were not wearing representative uniforms, she was unsure as to which rugby team they were members of, with the Classic hosting eight groups from South Africa, England, Italy, Canada, France, Argentina, United States and Ireland, but that she was aghast regarding the discriminatory attitude of ‘guests’, who had been allowed entry into a country not their own.

“There are very few words to describe my shock at their diatribe when describing my people, that were enjoying a fun night celebrating the birthday of a dear friend,” continued the post. “The security persons and myself were in disbelief and actually frozen of what we just experienced by visitors to our shores.

“These individuals represent the best of their respective countries, however uttered vile, racial epithets about the best and brightest of my country.
“I am still replaying the events of last night and trying to process my feelings of being called a n—-r at this event, along with the security staff.”

Ms Christopher noted that she would be sending written correspondence to the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the sponsors of the World Rugby Classic Bermuda, detailing the incident.

“Truly a heartbreaking experience to witness in Bermuda in 2023,” ended the post.

World Rugby Classic Bermuda president John Kane, noting that he was aware of the post, which went viral locally, and its allegations, released a statement regarding the matter.

“We have spoken with the individual who posted the comments to gather as much information as possible,” the statement revealed. “We have spoken with management at the hotel to try and obtain CCTV footage of who was involved and any further information available.
“We reached out to Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda [CURB] to seek their advice on how to best manage the situation and will work with them on this issue.

“All team managers have been contacted and it has been expressed very clearly that any type of offensive or racist behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with harshly.”
While generally minor – often alcohol fuelled – transgressions are not foreign to the annual event, which stands as a major draw on the rugby and overall local sporting calendar, the allegations of participants having voiced racial slurs and an incident of alleged indecent exposure by a Lions Legends player at a hospitality tent, featuring a mechanised bull, have seriously marred this year’s Classic.

The latter scenario also made the rounds on social media and has triggered a police investigation into the matter, although the player believed to have been involved has reportedly left the Island.

A reminder that TNN will continue streaming the World Rugby Classic Bermuda Tuesday, November 7th at 7pm [Plate semi-final] and 8:30pm [Classic semi-final] and Thursday, November 9th at 7pm [Plate Final] and 8:30pm [Classic Final].

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