Louis Smith drunkenly filmed a friend and fellow gymnast pretending to pray in an Islamic style at a wedding reception, whilst saying the Muslim phrase and war cry Allahu Akbar (meaning God is greatest).
Despite issuing a grovelling apology yesterday, Mr. Smith has been hit with swift and far-reaching consequences for the joke video.
Sports kit maker Milano Pro Sports, a former sponsor of Mr. Smith, distanced themselves from Mr. Smith.
“Whilst Louis Smith has appeared in brochures for us in the past we have no current relationship with him and have no plans to do so in the future,” the company told City A.M.
British Gymnastics have also launched an investigation and could discipline the champion. They said in a statement:
British Gymnastics does not condone the mocking of any faith or religion and is appalled by such behaviours.And to compound Mr. Smith’s woes, he could now be denied being honoured in his hometown of Peterborough.
Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and we are proud of members who portray the inclusive values of British Gymnastics. Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation.
The Muslim leader of the council’s Labour group is pushing to block Mr. Smith from being given Freedom of the City.
Councillor Mohammed Jamil has written to the panel that will make the decision, saying he has withdrawn his backing for the local hero.
Mr. Jamil told Peterborough Today: “I’ve had people over the weekend saying they do not want someone who says things like that to have the freedom of Peterborough.
“There is anger. He is a role model to a lot of people. It’s stuff like that which gives the misconception of what Islam is.
“I just do not think someone like that is someone I can support to have the freedom of the city in a city as diverse as ours. We probably have 15,000 to 20,000 Muslims in Peterborough.”