‘Brexit has brought out the worst in some of my countrymen’
After the image of a crying girl in a German outfit sparked a wave of hatred and insults, Welshman Joel Hughes took action: he wanted to use a crowdfunding campaign to fix the image of his homeland. Then he too descended under the wheels.
DrLast week’s match at Wembley was not remembered bitterly by some German fans because of the defeat. The boos for the national anthem and a lot of grudges after the end of the EM duel was one thing. The evening ended badly for a German family in the stadium.
Her young daughter, with a black, red and gold tattoo on her face, appeared on the stadium screen after the England goal – with a crying face. Which caused loud cheers in the ranks of England. The photo instantly went viral on social media and sparked a flurry of very aggressive insults from the alleged England fans, including Nazi comparisons.
Joel Hughes, a web designer from Wales, did not want to accept that such abuses on Twitter shaped his country’s image in Germany.
Hughes told WELT last week: “Not a Briton booed at the German anthem. I couldn’t stand such nasty insults from a crying German girl. Brexit was the worst of some of my countrymen. But we are not.” Which is why the 51-year-old has started a fundraiser to show the young Wembley fan another face of England.
On Tuesday, a week after the match, Hughes shut down the online campaign – in which he raised nearly €40,000. The girl’s family found Hughes, too. Who wants to remain anonymous and has donated money to UNICEF.
Despite this success, Joel Hughes was forced to close his Twitter account. “Because my actions have caused such insults and agitation against me,” he says. British police launched an investigation. Despite this bitter experience, the Welshman sees the pluses. “If people in Germany hear or read about the fundraiser and now know that many people in the UK continue to admire and respect our European friends – I am satisfied.”