Let Israel Adesanya speak long enough, and chances are he will say something controversial. Oftentimes, Adesanya has made jokes or comments that are offensive to particular demographics. This time, Adesanya is under fire for comments regarding rape, which is a serious subject.
Lately, Israel has been going back and forth with Kevin Holland on social media. After Adesanya lost to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259, Holland took to social media to explain his stance that Israel may not be the elite fighter that fans imagine him to be. Furthermore, that he would beat Israel if he had the chance to face him.
Adesanya Rape Comments
Adesanya ignored the comments for the most part. But, once Holland lost to Derek Brunson, the social media wars heated up again. However, this time Adesanya’s comments went so far overboard, that the Prime Minister of New Zealand got involved.
Israel Adesanya Apologizes For Threatening To 'Rape' Another UFC Fighter https://t.co/LyZSfPZk7T
— TMZ (@TMZ) March 25, 2021
“Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line. I understand the gravity of this word and how it can affect and hurt other people apart from my opponent, although that was NEVER my intention. I am still to growing under the spotight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 25, 2021
“Bro, I’ll (expletive) rape you,” Adesanya said.
Since the original Instagram story post, Israel has deleted the post. However, the ripple effect within the community continued.
“People with a large social media following can play a significant role in reducing rates of sexual violence and creating healthy cultures of consent for any sexual activity,” said Debbi Tohill, the Executive Director of Rape Prevention Education to Stuff.
“Conversely, these kind of comments where rape is used as a threat create a culture where it is acceptable to make sexualized comments with the potential to cause further harm. Sportspeople and celebrities can really influence young people, we would like to see this happen in a positive way, not misused and normalizing threats of sexual violence.”
Backlash From the Prime Minister
New Zealand Prime Minister Grant Robertson also had comments and was disappointed with Adesanya’s comments.
“I’m sure Israel understands that, I believe he has deleted the tweet in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do,” Robertson said. “But I would certainly be making clear to him, and to anybody actually, that we have to take rape seriously. It’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.”
The UFC has yet to comment on Adesanya’s comments. Furthermore, Israel has apologized for his rape comments.