The France and Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann ended his affiliation with Huawei on Thursday, saying there are “strong suspicions” that the Chinese tech giant has contributed to the repression of the mostly Muslim minority Uighurs.
Griezmann’s announcement followed media reports that Huawei has tested facial recognition software intended to help China’s surveillance of the group.
“Following strong suspicions that the Huawei company has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighur alert’ thanks to facial recognition software, I am announcing the immediate termination of my partnership with the company,” Griezmann said in an Instagram post.
“I take this opportunity to invite Huawei to not just deny these accusations, but to take concrete actions as quickly as possible to condemn this mass repression, and to use its influence to contribute to the respect of human and women’s rights in society.”
Griezmann was a global brand ambassador for Huawei and the 29-year-old player has appeared in advertisements promoting the company’s smartphones.
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, inside the company, to address the issues of human rights, equality, and discrimination at all levels.”
Addressing claims that Huawei tested a facial recognition system to detect Uighurs and send alerts to authorities, the spokesperson said: “It is not compatible with the values of Huawei. Our technologies are not designed to identify ethnic groups. Non-discrimination is at the heart of our values as a company.”