Napoli’s social media executive, Alessio Fortino, has stepped down from his role amid the ongoing saga over the club’s trolling of Nigerian football star Victor Osimhen, on TikTok.
Osimhen, the club and Serie A’s leading scorer with 26 goals last season as Napoli won their first Scudetto in 33 years, was mocked in a TikTok video last week for missing a penalty in their 0-0 draw with Bologna.
The offensive video drew the ire of football fans across the world and led to Osimhen removing all Napoli-related posts from his Instagram account and his agent Roberto Calenda threatening legal action.
The Nigerian government also waded into the matter, saying it would reach out to the government of Italy, Napoli and Osimhen over the issue.
There were two videos, the first one showing the 24-year-old Super Eagles striker appealing for a penalty, with sped-up, child-like audio captioned ‘Gimme penalty please’ before showing him firing the spot-kick wide.
A second video from the club’s account compared Osimhen to a ‘coconut’ — widely viewed as a racial slur.
Although Osimhen has played in two matches since then and scored in both, and Napoli have claimed they meant no harm, Fortino has apparently paid with his job for the ill-advised action.
In a post via Instagram, Fortino said: “Today, after 805 days, my professional adventure with SSC Naples ends. For many this job would be comparable to a dream, for me it was simple daily reality: a reality built on commitment and fueled by the constant desire to learn and play.
“I cannot help but express my deepest gratitude to all the colleagues, collaborators, partners and supporters I’ve met along this long journey for making this experience so special.
“Leaving the company with a baggage of great memories and an excitement for the new adventures that lie ahead. Thanks again for everything and see you soon! Alessio.”
According to Italian outlet Il Corriere dello Sport, Osimhen is believed to have received a private apology from Napoli directors on Wednesday for the club’s behavior on social media.