France and Barcelona forward, Antoine Griezmann on Thursday, December 10, ended his corporate affiliation and endorsements with Cell Phone giants, Huawei, saying there are “strong suspicions” that the Chinese-owned firm has led to the persecution of the mainly Muslim minority Uighurs.
It comes after a story in the Washington Post earlier this week alleged that when surveillance cameras identified members of the predominantly Muslim minority Uighur community, Huawei had tested software capable of sending automatic alerts.
The program for facial recognition is allegedly intended to identify Uighurs and directly report them to the Chinese government.
Following the allegations, Griezmann, Huawei’s worldwide brand ambassador, who appeared in commercials advertising the smartphones of the company, ended his contract urging the company to refute or confirm the reports.
“I am announcing the immediate termination of my partnership with the company following strong suspicions that the Huawei company has contributed to the creation of a ‘Uighur alert’ thanks to facial recognition software,” Griezmann said in an Instagram post on Thursday, October 10.
“I am taking this opportunity to invite Huawei not only to reject these charges but to take concrete action as quickly as possible to condemn this mass repression and to use its influence to contribute to the respect of the rights of human beings and women in society.”
In response to Griezmann’s statement, a Huawei spokesperson said: “We would like to extend an invitation to speak to him personally, to explain the work that is currently being done at the highest level within the company, to tackle human rights, equality, and discrimination at all levels.”
The spokesperson added: “It is not compatible with Huawei’s values, addressing claims that Huawei tested a facial recognition system to detect Uighurs and send alerts to authorities.” Our technologies are not intended for the identification of ethnic groups. Non-discrimination is at the core of our values as a company.”