Footballing megastar and the face of FIFA 2019 Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer featured on any official EA social media accounts in the wake of allegations surrounding the sexual assault of a young woman back in 2009.
With his recent move from Real Madrid to Juventus, the Portuguese star is having to deal with much more than the culture shock of changing clubs. The rape allegations are brought forward by Kathryn Mayorga and relate to events alleged to have taken place in Las Vegas in 2009. Ronaldo is said to have forced himself on the women after an evening of heavy partying. At the time, his lawyers arranged a settlement in exchange for her silence on the matter, but she has now decided to voice her story to the world due to him not holding up his end of the deal.
With FIFA 2019’s release late last month, you’d be at odds to have missed Ronaldo’s face adorning most marketing material and the header of social media accounts for the game. These have now been removed, being replaced by a far more neutral arrangement of review quotes and the standard FIFA logo. Though a coincidental marketing update is plausible, the natural assumption is to understand the removal as EA taking the first tentative steps towards distancing themselves from the famous #9 with presumably a complete severance should the allegations turn out to be substantiated.
When pressed for an official stance, EA responded to Eurogamer stating ‘We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo. We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values’. The response follows that of other big Ronaldo partner Nike, who is also monitoring the situation.
Ronaldo has denied the allegations saying ‘I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense. My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations’.
Given that Ronaldo’s face doesn’t simply appear on the cover of FIFA 2019, but peppers a number of in-game menus, promotional material, and so on, EA will have a big cleanup job on their hands should they decided to sever ties with the player.