Belfast Telegraph

Film of Northern Ireland gymnast Luke Carson and Louis Smith mocking Muslims leads to reprimand

By Luke Barnes

Northern Ireland gymnast Luke Carson has been reprimanded for a video showing him making fun of Muslims.

The video, filmed by four-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith, showed Carson mimicking Islamic prayers and practices while Smith laughed.

The 27-year-old from Lisburn, who is now a coach at Rathgael Gymnasium in Bangor, takes a rug off the wall of a hotel and kneels down to "worship".

Towards the end of the clip an elderly woman tells Carson, who is waving his arms up and down, that he's "not funny".

Smith then tells her that Carson is "doing his six o'clock prayers".

Carson claimed on October 9: "It was a three-minute video of us just fooling around."

However, he later issued a statement on Twitter, saying: "I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for my recent behaviour.

"It was an act that showed extreme poor judgement and one I truly regret.

"My insensitive actions were offensive, immature and careless.

"I have a responsibility to myself and others to act in a respectful and dignified way which in this case I failed to do.

"I do truly offer my sincerest apology for any offence caused".

Carson's reprimand will not stop him from coaching, but it will stay on his record for two years.

Smith was suspended for two months, which the BBC reported was a "cumulative penalty" for previous breaches of its rules of conduct.

He was previously reprimanded in June for posting a picture online with a 16-year-old American gymnast, along with a comment that British Gymnastics said was "unbefitting to a participant". In April he had to apologise after questioning the judging at the British Championships, where he missed out on pommel gold.

British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen said: "It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high-profile members in breach of our standards of conduct.

"As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have no choice but to act responsibly and refer this case to an independent panel for their review and determination.

"Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and communities."

During the hearing Carson admitted his actions were a breach of the rules.

The panel took into account the fact that there had been no previous disciplinary incidents involving him.

Smith is taking a break from the sport and is touring as a guest celebrity on the Keep Dancing stage production.

Belfast Telegraph


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