Jaguar ditches Rice over 'faggots' slur
Australia's triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice was stripped of her sponsorship deal with luxury carmaker Jaguar Tuesday after she posted a homophobic remark on Twitter.Updated: Sep 08, 2010 01:24 IST
Australia's triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice was stripped of her sponsorship deal with luxury carmaker Jaguar Tuesday after she posted a homophobic remark on Twitter.
The swimmer landed herself in controversy after tweeting "Suck on that faggots!" in triumph at Australia's narrow win over South Africa in the Tri-Nations rugby on Saturday.
Openly gay former rugby league international Ian Roberts led condemnation of the remark, which Rice has since removed and apologised for, calling her and anyone who supported her an "idiot".
Jaguar on Tuesday announced it had scrapped its sponsorship deal with the 22-year-old and said she would have to give back her XF sports car, worth more than 100,000 Australian dollars (around R 43 lakh).
"We have terminated our agreement with her," Jaguar spokesman Mark Eedle said.
"The terms of the agreement remain confidential ... Suffice to say she's obviously been driving one of our cars and that benefit will no longer happen."
Eedle said Jaguar wished to distance itself from the Twitter comment. "It's to do with how we want to associate our brand and unfortunately this... is not an association we want to have going forward," he said.
But gay Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham, a gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, came to Rice's defence on the site.
"It was offensive and very thoughtless, but being friends with her for two years, I know she is not homophobic," Mitcham wrote.
"She meant no malice, and she has apologised for her careless comment posted in the excitement of the moment."
Rice, who was forced out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games with a shoulder injury last month, has been romantically linked to Wallabies player Quade Cooper.