Colombia’s ambassador to the United Nations will file a protest to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) over an offensive Twitter post aimed at the Colombian soccer team by Dutch actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Nicolette Van Dam, local media reported.
The actress posted a photoshopped image depicting the Colombian World Cup team members Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez on the soccer field as if they were snorting the white spray that referees use to mark the line for defending players to stand on during the opposing team’s free kick.
Van Dam, one of ten Dutch UNICEF goodwill ambassadors, wrote alongside the tweet, “Colombiaans Muurtje,” which is Dutch for “Colombian Wall,” the formation that defending players assume during a free kick.
|“Dear Colombians, I did not have any intention to offend you. Please accept my most sincere and honest apologies.”|
Erased, but not forgotten
After two hours, Van Dam erased the tweet from her Twitter account and later offered an apology. “Dear Colombians, I did not have any intention to offend you. Please accept my most sincere and honest apologies,” according to the same Santa Fe report.
Van Dam, a model and actress, has appeared in TV shows such as Nickelodeon’s ZOOP and the popular investigation series in the Netherlands, Baantjer, according to her IMDb profile. She also appeared in a minor role in the movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
Radio Santa Fe is just one of numerous Colombian news outlets that ran the photo, the tweet and strong condemnation of Van Dam.
UNICEF Colombia announced on Thursday their rejection of Van Dam’s tweet, and signaled that they will investigate the act. Colombian UN Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia is poised to speak directly with the Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, and will ask that UNICEF remove Van Dam as an ambassador to the organization.
“This is not the first time that she has put out a disparaging tweet, and Colombia will not accept this,” Mejia told Blu Radio.
Colombia’s UNICEF Ambassador, Roberto de Bernardi, also told Blu Radio he supports efforts to remove Van Dam as a UNICEF ambassador.
Though Bernaldi lacks the authority to make this decision, he stated that the request “has been presented to the central office in New York, who has been involved in this issue since the beginning.”
UNICEF Colombia condemn tweet, lauds football heroes
“We want to repeat once more that UNICEF Colombia forcefully condemns the content of this photo-montage that has been published,” Bernaldi said.
UNICEF Colombia have also sent a letter to James and Falcao saying that the organization is proud of their achievements as athletes and role-models.
— UNICEF Colombia (@UNICEFColombia) June 19, 2014
Colombian popstar Shakira is also one of the many celebrity figures who are currently UNICEF ambassadors.
Twitter has erupted with posts that condemn Van Dam’s actions, criticizing her tweet as stereotypical and harmful to the reputation of Colombia, as well as making light of the serious issues of drug-trafficking and violence that have plagued the country for decades.
— Juan Correa (@juancorrea100) June 18, 2014
- Colombia protestará ante ONU por ofensa de Nicolette Vandam y pedirá su retiro como embajadora de buena voluntad (Santa Fe Radio)
- Unicef en Colombia pide dimisión de Nicolette Van Dam por polémico trino (Blu Radio)
- UNICEF Ambassador’s World Cup Tweet Enrages Colombians (Fusion Soccer)
- Nicolette Van Dam (IMBd)