There has been major controversy with the events that happened at the Manchester City vs. Burnley game on Monday. Hosted by Burnley, there was a fan that made a statement early in the game. Jake Heppie used the game to promote “White Lives Matter”. This Burnley fan was fired from his job due to his actions.
Heppie hired a banner flying company to fly a sign saying “White Lives Matter Burnley”. This occurred minutes after both teams kneeled to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 24-year-old was fired from his job after it was discovered who did it. He worked at Lancashire-based Paradigm Precision. They released a statement to clarify that they do not tolerate those values that Heppie has.
“We have concluded our investigation into the conduct of one of our employees in relation to an incident at the Burnley vs Manchester City match, as well as other related matters.
“We have concluded that there has been a breach of the company’s various policies and procedures. The individual no longer works for the company.”
They also promoted the fact that they do “not condone or tolerate racism in any form and is fully committed to diversity and inclusion”.
Heppie’s girlfriend, Martha Kelner, was also fired from her job. On her social media, some posts align with White Lives Matter.
The company that was used to fly the banner, Aid Ads, has stopped all banner-towing activities as of Tuesday. The Blackpool airport manager Stephen Smith came out with his statement about the incident.
“Blackpool Airport and Blackpool Council are outraged by this incident.
“We stand against racism of any kind and absolutely do not condone the activity. The message was offensive and the action reprehensible,” Smith said.
The police launched an investigation immediately after the banner was flown.
“After assessing all the information available surrounding this incident we have concluded that there are no criminal offenses that have been disclosed at this time.
“We will continue to work with our partners at the football club and within the local authority,” Chief Superintendent Russ Procter, of Lancashire Police said.
They have also had to offer police protection to Heppie.
The football club, Burnley, was outraged at the incident. Captain Ben Mee was “ashamed and embarrassed” about the incident.
Burnley CEO Neil Hart was angered by the banner that was “incit[ing] racial hatred.”
“Clearly all lives matter: White, Black, wherever you’re from. What we are saying, through the campaign, are Black and ethnic minority groups have faced persecution and injustice and inequality for hundreds of years and are still facing that today and that is the reason behind this campaign,” said Hart. “We are not saying White lives don’t matter.
“We are standing very firm against any kind of discriminatory behavior. And that’s what last night was about. Last night was driven by a group of individuals who are linked to a far-right group and last night’s motivation was to incite racial hatred, full stop. And that is unacceptable.”