Thursday, October 29

Billy Joe Saunders says he’s received death threats for video advising men ‘how to hit women’ despite apology

World super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says he has received death threats online in the wake of his social media video advising men “how to hit women” during the UK lockdown, and questioning whether his background resulted in the fierce backlash he received.

Saunders has been widely condemned for his comments made in a video that he has claimed was supposed to be a joke, but which appeared to condone domestic violence.

There are serious concerns that partners who are in domestically abusive relationship may find themselves trapped during the nation’s coronavirus lockdown, which only added to the criticism levelled at 30-year-old Saunders after be posted a video instructing men how to use boxing skills to hit women if they irritate them while at home together.

Saunders apologised on Sunday, but after being labelled “idiotic” by his promoter Eddie Hearn on Monday morning, the boxer issued a fresh apology and confirmed that he will donate £25,000 to a domestic violence charity. He did however question why he received such a strong backlash when comedians who make offensive jokes do not, and revealed that he had received death threats on top of the criticism that made him question whether his background was the reason for this.

“I am getting a lot of hate mail wishing me dead, wishing my family and my kids dead,” Saunders, who is of a gypsy background, told Talksport. “I haven’t got another half but I have got a daughter and if anyone did that (what was suggested in the video) to my daughter I would hurt them bad, to be honest.

“I would never use my profession outside the ring but if anyone touched a finger on my daughter I would literally go all hell loose on them. Whatever I have got in my body.

“In other circumstances, and I don’t condone what I said, but you get comedians taking the mickey out of people’s disabilities etc, it was very silly but you don’t see any other people targeted. Is it because of my background, people jump more on it because I’ve done some stuff in the past?

“I am who I am, I am not going to say I will never make another mistake in my life. I don’t intentionally mean to make these mistakes, I didn’t have a very good education.

“I am not intentionally causing the public any harm at all. I only put it out because I thought it was a laugh, clearly it wasn’t.”

Promoter Hearn criticised Saunders for acting without thinking too often, claiming that his way in life is to take “one step forward, four steps back” after spending the day supporting the National Health Service for their work in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Saunders appeared to agree with Hearn’s assessment, and said he realised how people could see the offence caused by the video only after it was posted online.

“I said it as a bit of a joke at first. I wasn’t obviously thinking. It was a silly mistake but I didn’t mean to cause any harm to anyone and I certainly wouldn’t promote domestic violence.

“I think if it is took out of the gesture of what it was meant to be and out into something else then yeah I can clearly see (the offence) but when someone is only looking at it as a joke when we are all locked away.

“I thought I would make a few people laugh but obviously it has flipped on the other side with people.”

WBO super middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders

He added: “Clearly (nobody laughed) but I didn’t mean for anyone to get upset about it. There are people dying all around the world with coronavirus and I was just trying to take the heat off that a little bit.

“It clearly hasn’t done, my sense of humour is not everyone’s cup of tea.

“I can only take it back and apologise, I will be donating £25,000 to support the domestic violence charity. It was a silly thing to do but it has been done and I can’t take it back.

“It wasn’t meant to be suggesting ‘go and hit your wife and your loved ones’. It wasn’t really done for social media likes, it was done out of pure careless thought.

“Everyone has an opinion. I am a very straight, honest person, I don’t beat around the bush. I am who I am. I didn’t mean to clearly cause any harm to anyone.”