Ex-UUP leader criticised for accusing Simon Zebo of ageism

Ex-UUP leader criticised for accusing Simon Zebo of ageism

Northern Ireland Assembly member Mike Nesbitt has been criticised for a tweet accusing Simon Zebo of ageism.

It followed the news that an Ulster fan had been banned for life by the province after racially abusing Zebo during their game against Racing 92 at the Kingspan Stadium earlier this month.

Nesbitt (61) said Zebo shouldn't have described the spectator who abused him as "an elderly man, like 40-plus".

Zebo (28) had made the remark in describing the incident as particularly disappointing because of the age of the man, compared to similar comments he faced from kids growing up.

"It was something that happened to me quite a bit when I was younger, you know you're dealing with other kids or children or teenagers, who don't have the intellect or education at the time to understand how things like that can hurt a person," he told Rugby Pass.

"So it was even more disappointing that I went home and it was an elderly man, like 40-plus, so that's why it just annoyed me a bit."

The former Ulster Unionist Party leader tweeted: "First and foremost Simon Zebo should not have been abused by the Ulster fan who shouted something inappropriate - but Zebo shouldn’t describe him as 'an elderly man, like 40 plus'. Ageism, racism, both wrong".

Nesbitt faced criticism online for equating the two things and ignoring the context of the comments.

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