A bookmaker has been forced to apologise after it posted a picture of a man blacked-up as Labour MP Diane Abbott on social media.
Star Sports Bookmakers posted the picture on Twitter on Friday evening showing a man wearing blackface at a darts competition and holding up a sign reading “190” – lampooning the shadow home secretary for her grasp of numbers. The maximum score off three darts is 180.
The bookmaker was accused of racism after posting the picture.
The caption accompanying the tweet read: “An early contender for best fancy dress costume at the #PDC #WorldDartsChampionships tonight at #AllyPally.”
The post was widely condemned on social media, with Labour MP Stella Creasy wading into the debate, tweeting: “Guess it says what you really think of your customers that you promote this.”
The bookmaker originally attempted to defend itself, hitting back at Creasy: “This wasn’t some guerrilla marketing stunt Stella, one of our team attended on a social night out.
“We thought it was a very impressive attempt at fancy dress and merely shared it with our followers. Please stop taking things so seriously.”
Creasy retorted, accusing the firm of “promoting casual racism”.
Abbott famously stumbled over the cost of plans to put thousands of extra police on the streets during a radio interview in May.
On Sunday morning the firm said it had removed the offending photo.
The response to Creasy was also taken down.
Star Sports Bookmakers said in a statement posted on Twitter: “It was not meant to cause offense with the humorous element in our eyes being the ’190′ scribbled on the sign.” (sic)
The firm said it would like to “apologise to all those who were offended by it”.
Labour MP David Lammy also hit out at the tweet, saying on Twitter: “I can’t believe that in 2017 a bookmaker is sharing photos of someone in blackface and then telling people to stop taking it so seriously.”
Earlier this year it was revealed that Abbott received almost half of all abusive tweets sent to female MPs in the run up to the General Election.
The report from Amnesty International also found that, excluding the shadow home secretary, black and Asian women MPs received 35% more abusive tweets than their white counterparts.
Abbott received 10 times more abuse than any other woman MP in the run-up to the General Election and eight times more abuse than any other woman MP during the entire period of analysis.
Out of the 140,057 tweets mentioning @HackneyAbbott, 8,121 tweets – 5.8% – were identified as abusive.
Abbott was sent 45.14% of all abuse tweets in the six-week period in the run up to June’s election.