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Backlash after wife of UK cyclist Chris Froome calls Muslims ‘drain on society’

Michelle Froome declared that there were 'no innocent Gazans' and that Muslims are 'here to take over' in a social media tirade
British cyclist Christopher Froome and his wife Michelle arrive for the Rose Ball at the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club in Monaco, on 28 July 2017, in Monaco (AFP)

The wife of a former Team Great Britain cyclist has caused an online uproar after saying that there were “no innocent" Palestinians in Gaza and describing Muslims as a “drain on society” in an outburst on social media on Monday.

Michelle Froome, wife and agent of four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, launched a tirade against the Palestinians and Hamas, as well as pro-Palestine protesters and Muslims in a series of posts on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Chris Froome currently rides for the Israel-Premier Tech cycling team, which is owned by Israeli billionaires Sylvan Adams and Ron Baron.

“I’m sick of sitting idly by quietly supporting Israel while the Hamas propaganda takes over social media. Enough is enough!” Michelle Froome wrote in one post to her 15,000 followers.

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“The silent majority needs to stand up and be heard. We don’t want your religion, we don’t want your beliefs. It is not compatible with modern civilisation.”

As of Tuesday, Froome's X account was no longer active. However, screenshots of her posts continue to be shared on the platform.

“Women’s rights matter! Gay rights matter! Trans rights matter! Hamas doesn’t support any of those. Take the blindfolds off and see the reality of the hatred they are spreading. There are no innocent Gazans,” Froome wrote.

Screengrab of a post on X by Michelle Froome

Social media users slammed Froome’s statements, with many describing them as racist and dehumanising.

One user underlined that her rhetoric could have real implications on Muslim citizens, writing on X: “Brazen racism from Michelle Froome. Zero consequences.”

“This is pure incitement and her racist followers will be compelled to act. This is exactly the Great Replacement nonsense that led to the Christchurch mosque massacre. But Michelle knows that,” the user said.

Other X users responded by defending the Muslim community in Britain.

“Muslims here contribute a huge amount to (in no particular order) the NHS, schools, charities, and the economy,” another user said. “And in turn are far more likely to be affected by prejudice.”

Some social media users also accused Froome of hypocrisy, pointing out that she lives in Monaco, considered a tax haven, while describing UK Muslims as a burden.

“Tell me how much income tax you pay to contribute towards Monaco society?” one X user replied. “What a shockingly racist thing to say.”

Middle East Eye has reached out to Froome for comment.

Boycott calls

Michelle Froome's posts came as pro-Palestine activists have increased calls for protests at the upcoming Giro d’Italia and Tour de France amid Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, which has killed over 33,600 Palestinians, the vast majority of them women and children. 

Israel-Premier Tech distanced itself from Froome's comments, telling the cycling outlet “Any comments or beliefs made public by third parties associated with the team's riders or staff do not represent Israel-Premier Tech, its team members, or its partners.”

Earlier this year, the team removed the word "Israel" from its vehicles as part of what they described as precautionary measures.

The official Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) site also posted a call earlier this month for demonstrations, titled “road closed to genocide”,  saying the famous cycling races were “shamefully rewarding” Israel and helping it “sportswash its gravest crimes” by permitting Israel-Premier Tech to compete.

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