Neymar sponsors withdraw ads after rape accusation | News | DW | 08.06.2019
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Neymar sponsors withdraw ads after rape accusation

A woman who has accused Brazilian soccer star Neymar of raping her in a Paris hotel has testified to Sao Paulo police. His sponsors are backing out, but Neymar still enjoys massive support in his home country.

Sponsors of Brazilian football megastar Neymar have suspended advertising campaigns following an alleged rape scandal, his agents said Friday.

A 26-year-old model has accused the star striker for Paris Saint-Germain of raping her in a Paris hotel in May.

She spent about six hours giving a statement to Sao Paulo police on Friday, braving the assembled media scrum. The case has gripped the football-loving nation.

Earlier in the week, Neymar also spoke to police after intimate WhatsApp messages and photos of his alleged victim were leaked online. He blamed an assistant and a technician for the leak.

His alleged victim told Brazilian media she had suffered "aggression together with rape" at the hands of the player. She alleged he was angered after she refused to have unprotected sex. He allegedly continued anyway and hit her repeatedly.

NR Sports, rights holders of Neymar's name and image, said no sponsorship contracts had been canceled, though it detailed which campaigns had been suspended.

"All the partners, for obvious reasons, are alert and aware of the unfolding events," the statement said.

Watch video 01:34

Neymar gives police statement denying rape

Sponsors muted

Nike said earlier in the week that it was "very concerned" about the rape accusation. Mastercard told Reuters news agency it had planned an advertising campaign, but did not confirm reports it had decided to suspend Neymar's role in the project.

Neymar, one of football's biggest names, has enjoyed a surge of support among Brazilians in the wake of the accusations. Polls show more than 60% of Brazilians believe he is blameless, and even far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has publicly declared his innocence.

aw/cmk (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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