BBC 5 Live pundit apologises after West Ham ‘Holocaust’ gaffe
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BBC 5 Live pundit apologises after West Ham ‘Holocaust’ gaffe

Former player Carlton Cole said West Ham faced 'a Holocaust' if they failed to play well in their match at Manchester City

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

BBC 5 Live football pundit Carlton Cole has issued an on-air apology after suggesting West Ham faced “a Holocaust” if they did not play well in their Premier League match against Manchester City.

Assessing his former club’s chances of success in a tough away game, Cole, who was picked for England in his playing days, said:”You’ve got to give Man City some respect…. otherwise you are going to get picked off and then it’s going to be a Holocaust.”

The comment, made on BBC 5 Live after just after 1pm on Sunday, immediately sparked an angry response from listeners, and came only a few weeks after Bristol City manager Joey Barton compared his team’s performances to a “Holocaust.”

One Twitter user Jitandara Joshi immediately condemned Cole’s remarks writing:”At the start of Chanukah of all days. Carlton Cole has likened a football defeat to a ‘Holocaust.'”

Another user of the social platform said:”Shocking use of the word, where is the apology.”

BBC 5 Live presenter Nicky Campbell then tweeted:”You are totally right. Let it slip. Have apologised on air.”

Cole, having apologised on air, then tweeted Jewish News and said:”It was totally unacceptable. And I understand the gravity of my mistake.”

The ex-pro, who spent the bulk of his playing days at West Ham and earlier on at Chelsea, has made regular appearances on the BBC station along with other slots as a pundit on TalkSport.

Last month after Bristol Rovers manager Barton made his “Holocaust” reference, Karen Pollock, chief exec at the Holocaust Educational Trust said:”A bad football match is nothing like the Holocaust and this is clearly an inappropriate comparison – it is why our work is so important.”

In April 2011, Cole was fined £20,000 by The Football Association for comments he made on Twitter regarding England’s friendly against Ghana, at Wembley Stadium the previous month, joking that the match was being used as a sting operation by immigration authorities. He requested that the fine be donated to a Ghanaian charity of his choice.

Cole was again charged by The Football Association in March 2015, when in response to a Tottenham fan taunting him on Twitter by asking whether he would consider retirement, he replied ‘F**k off you c**t.’ After admitting the offence, he was fined £20,000.

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