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(Credit: PBS.org)

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet apologized after one of its columnists compared a football [soccer] team to both Adolf Hitler and the infamous incest rapist Josef Fritzl.

The Aug. 12 column, “Direst of football teams — Red Bull Salzburg” (translated from “Har skrivit några rader i Aftonbladet om världens mest avskydda fotbollslag”)  said in part, according to the Huffington Post:

“Austria has not only given us Josef Fritzl and Adolf Hitler. There is also Red Bull Salzburg, the most hated football club of our time.”

Fritzl kept his daughter kidnapped in a cellar for 24 years, where he raped her and impregnated her seven times. He was “found guilty of murder for the death of one of [his daughter’s] babies, as well as incest, sequestration, grievous assault and 3,000 instances of rape” and imprisoned five years ago, according to Australia’s News.com.au.

The article is still published on Aftonbladet‘s website.

Following intense blowback from social media commenters, the journalist who made the unfortunate, now controversial comparison tweeted, “Today I am therefore Austria’s most hated man” according to a Google translate.

Ronnie Sandahl denied he was “comparing RBS to Hitler” in an Aug. 13 tweet. “No, I am not comparing RBS to Hitler,” he wrote.

 

 

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He also tweeted:

 

According to a Google translate, the text of that tweet reads: “Today I am therefore Austria’s most hated man. I have not been before.”

Regardless of Sandahl’s denials, Aftonbladet‘s editor-in-chief apologized to Red Bull Salzburg’s sporting director Ralf Rangnick, the Guardian reported. Rangnick said

“We have received a very personal email from the editor-in-chief in which he profusely apologises in the name of the paper and distances himself from these words. He has apologised to us formally and for us the matter is closed.”

iMediaEthics asked Red Bull Salzburg for comment. Christian Kircher wrote back, in English, pointign us to sports director Ralf Rangnick’s comments in German at the Champions League press conference at the 33:30 minute mark.  Despite e-mailing us in English, Kircher told us to find someone to interpret the comments for us instead of providing the statement. We’ll update with a translation when we are able to get one. But for now, here’s the link.

The Austrian Football Association’s president Leo Windtner called the column’s linking the club to Hitler “unbelievably thoughtless.”

iMediaEthics has written to the columnist Sandahl and Aftonbladet  for comment.

 

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Austrian football team Like Hitler? Incest rapist Josef Fritz? Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet ‘unbelievably thoughtless’

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