A furious Sergio Perez has dumped one of his personal sponsors, after they mocked Mexicans in a tweet following Donald Trump’s US election victory.
As you may recall Trump promised to build a wall along the border between the US and Mexico, and following his electoral triumph, Perez’s new sponsor Hawkers sent out an ill-advised tweet encouraging Mexicans to buy their sunglasses.
“Mexicans, put on these glasses so they can’t see your crying eyes tomorrow when building the wall,” Hawkers tweeted on Wednesday.
Hawkers’ bafflingly thoughtless message was swiftly deleted, and in subsequent tweets Hawkers moved to clarify that the comment was meant in jest. However, Perez did not see the funny side, and instantly moved to cut ties with the sponsor.
“When I read the comment I didn’t find it funny at all,” Perez said. “I have decided to split with the brand because I am not in favour at all of the comment.
“They are very sorry and I am very sorry, too. I know the owners and they have done incredibly well and the relationship was going to be very successful. But my country and people come first and I want to support them and won’t let anyone make fun of my country.”
The 26-year-old Mexican also said the company would have to halt production of 20,000 limited edition sunglasses bearing his name.
Perez, a former team-mate of Jenson Button at McLaren, is now in his third successive year at Force India and has competed in more than 100 grands prix.
“I feel sorry because it is a great brand and they have done really well but I am not willing to stay there because basically the brand must be in charge of the social manager,” said Perez, who had just entered into a relationship with the sunglasses company. “It is a shame that the brand pays for it. It is a mistake by one person, and I am sure he regrets it now but that is how things are in life sometimes.”
Hawkers co-founder David Moreno later published an apology video (in Spanish).
In it, he says: “I am posting this message because I want to give my most sincere apologies to everybody who may have been offended. I want to say for my own part that that tweet, that unfortunate joke in bad taste does not represent us or our way of thinking.
“We are completely against any manifestation of hate, of any expression of racism. We are absolutely against any type of discrimination. We are a young company. We are learners, we are tremendously respectful and towards the Mexican town we feel immense affection (sic).”