Esha Gupta is a Bollywood actress and a long-time Arsenal fan who’s been described as a club ambassador, and who was a Puma celebrity match-day guest for the team in 2016 and helped with a kit launch in 2017. Given what’s gone on with her in the last few days, she may not have that ambassador role for long.
After Arsenal was knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United Friday, Gupta took to Instagram and shared screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation with @Varun_Gupta17. That conversation included that other user calling Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi “gorilla-faced” and saying “It’s like evolution stopped for him, didn’t change from Neanderthal to man,” and included Gupta laughing heartily in response. She shared it on Instagram with the caption “Hahaha…Best @Varun_Gupta17”, and while she later deleted it after criticism, it was preserved by many, including Dan Critchlow of the Arsenal-centric Daily Cannon site. As Critchlow shared later, this also led to Gupta tweeting a non-apology apology of “Guys m sorry if you thought it was racist” and to her blocking him:
Just been blocked. To recap:
1. Esha Gupta posts racist comments about Iwobi.
2. Gupta apologises for anyone who thinks she’s being racist, but doesn’t apologise for the racism.
3. Gupta blocks anyone who calls her out.
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) January 27, 2019
It’s unclear exactly what Arsenal’s relationship with Gupta is, but it seems unlikely it will continue after both this incident and Gupta’s lack of an actual apology. However, the club has not yet tweeted anything about her. We’ll see what this leads to. But yeah, publicly sharing a conversation describing someone as “gorilla-faced” and “Neanderthal” was never going to end well, and “sorry you thought it was racist” doesn’t exactly atone for that.