René Bresgen


Telekom and FC Bayern show hate on the Internet the red card

  • “Working together against online hate speech” – Deutsche Telekom and FC Bayern want to educate and support those affected
  • FC Bayern players Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané, and Leon Goretzka discuss shocking statements 
  • Oliver Kahn: „We need more transparency“ 
FC Bayern players Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané and Leon Goretzka.

Against hate speech - FC Bayern players Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané and Leon Goretzka. © Deutsche Telekom

Soccer brings people together, but is often a platform for discrimination and hate. On the internet, supposed fans direct their anger towards clubs, athletes, referees and officials. Insults and threats are almost a daily occurrence and are extremely damaging. Deutsche Telekom and its sponsoring partner, FC Bayern, are raising awareness about this intolerable situation. They have joined forces to stamp out online hate speech and are calling for more togetherness. 

“Our primary goal is to educate everybody and offer support. Unfortunately, online hate speech can affect everybody,” explains Michael Hagspihl, Senior Vice President Global Strategic Projects and Marketing Partnerships at Deutsche Telekom. “We want to join forces with our partners to tackle online hate speech. As a company, we have a social responsibility that we fulfill.” Uli Klenke, Chief Brand Officer at Deutsche Telekom, also believes that we need to act urgently: “Our language and our tone is becoming more and more aggressive. Hate speech, verbal abuse, and bullying poison our interactions, both in real life and online. We are committed to bringing people together. Everyone should take advantage of the opportunities digitalization has to offer and be able to use the internet freely and without fear.”

Studies have indicated that around one quarter of people asked have been insulted on the internet. Furthermore, a quarter of those surveyed have been threatened online. Not only that, the trend is increasing. The studies also show that younger people are most frequently confronted with hate online. However, people in the public eye receive a great deal of hate. “We are responsible for bringing people together to tackle hate in our sport and in society as a whole. It’s a matter of decency, acceptance, and fairness,” explains Oliver Kahn, CEO of FC Bayern. “When I was an active professional in the Bundesliga, I saw the damage inappropriate comments and aggression were able to cause. On the internet, these hate comments are often unseen by the public. We need more transparency here.” 


Shocking statements 

“Working together against online hate speech” – this is the message with which Deutsche Telekom is continuing its cooperation with FC Bayern. In an emotional video, FC Bayern players Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané, and Leon Goretzka read out examples of real online hate speech: “I hope your team bus burns, you losers”, “keep your unqualified mouth shut”, “what’s happened to Germany, they’re all black”. Shocking statements aimed at FC Bayern and its players which are very concerning. The statements read out by the soccer stars are really emotional. 

The “working together against online hate speech” initiative aims to educate and embolden the silent majority to actively tackle online hate speech and insults. The objective is to show hate the red card. A clear call to not remain silent but to be loud and proud against online hate speech. “We are delighted that our partner, FC Bayern, is part of our initiative,” says Dr. Christian Hahn, Head of Marketing Communications and Media at Deutsche Telekom and initiator of the “No hate speech” initiative. “We hope the emotional depiction shocks people and encourages them to come together to overcome hate.”

The ad launches today on various social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit. It will also be shown occassionally on TV during sport broadcasts as well as on the FC Bayern and Deutsche Telekom social media platforms. Mataracan, Munich, is responsible for concept and creation. Chunk Filmproduktion, Berlin realizes the production. Mindshare, Frankfurt, and emetriq, Hamburg, are in charge of media planning.

Working together against online hate speech

Deutsche Telekom and many partner organizations are making a stand for respectful behavior online. Together, they offer those affected more information, preventative measures, and practical support. Further information on the Deutsche Telekom initiative “No hate speech” at: 

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom at a glance

#TAKEPART in fighting for a network without hate

No Hate Speech

Words must not become a weapon. Deutsche Telekom is fighting for a network without hate in which we treat one another respectfully.