“Brexit brought out the worst in some of my compatriots”
After the picture of a crying girl in a Germany outfit triggered a wave of malice and insults, the Welshman Joel Hughes took action: he wanted to use a crowdfunding campaign to repair the image of his homeland. Then he too got under the wheels.
Dhe Wembley game last week was not only remembered bitterly by some German fans because of the defeat. Booing the national anthem and a lot of malice after the end of the EM duel were one thing. The evening ended particularly badly for a German family in the stadium.
Her little daughter, a black, red and gold tattoo on her face, was shown on the stadium screen after an England goal – with a tearful face. Which caused loud cheers in the England ranks. The picture immediately landed on social media and triggered a wave of extremely aggressive insults from alleged England fans, including Nazi comparisons.
Joel Hughes, a web designer from Wales, did not want to accept that such Twitter excesses shape the image of his country in Germany.
“It is not British to boo on the German anthem. I couldn’t bear such dire insults from a crying German girl. Brexit brought out the worst in some of my compatriots. But we’re not like that, ”Hughes told WELT last week. Which is why the 51-year-old started a fundraiser to show the little fan at Wembley another face of England.
On Tuesday, a week after the game, Hughes closed the online campaign – with which he collected the equivalent of almost 40,000 euros. The girl’s family has also found Hughes. Who wants to remain anonymous and has donated the money to Unicef.
Despite this success, Joel Hughes had to close his Twitter account. “Because my action triggered such insults and such agitation against me,” he says. The British police started an investigation. Despite this bitter experience, the Welshman sees the positives. “If people in Germany have heard or read about the fundraiser and now know that so many people in the UK continue to like and respect our European friends – then I am satisfied.”