The Internet is very upset. You might have heard that Kurt Zouma, a French footballer who plays for West Ham, has come under fire for kicking and hitting his cat, sparking public outrage across the nation and also in his home country of France. Whilst Kurt claims to be “deeply sorry” and promises it was an “isolated incident”, his cavalier attitude in the video – in front of his own child nonetheless – paints an entirely different picture. The RSPCA have since removed the cats from Zouma’s household whilst they investigate and West Ham have fined him £250,000, which is apparently being donated to various animal charities.
But loads of animal and sports lovers alike are pretty angry and don’t think West Ham has done enough to punish the player. Here’s everyone that Kurt Zouma has angered, so far…
Jan Blachowicz: Former UFC Champion
This former UFC champion and animal lover was not impressed with Zouma, and whilst a bit extreme in his message, we think he gets his point across well!
If you are so tough mother****er, @KurtZouma, try to kick me.
What a piece of shit. No tolerance for animal cruelty.
— Jan Blachowicz (@JanBlachowicz) February 8, 2022
Chris Packham: Wildlife TV Presenter & Conservationist
Chris Packham, a wildlife TV presenter and conservationist, calls out West Ham and their major sponsors, asking if this if they want their name on the shirt of a man “who kicks cats and laughs”. A fair point!
So come on @betway ‘proud sponsors of @WestHam‘ just tell us all , and all who bet with you & who love their pets , just how proud you are tonight to have your name on the shirt of a man who kicks cats and laughs . C’mon just tell us . . .
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) February 8, 2022
Gary Lineker: Famous Sports Personality
Even the hugely famous sports god, Gary Lineker, doesn’t think taking Zouma out of just one game is good enough, calling West Ham “tone deaf”. And, if Lineker doesn’t agree, then neither do we!
Shocked and appalled that @WestHam played Zouma last night. A tone deaf decision.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) February 9, 2022
Ally McCoist: Former Footballer for the Rangers
McCoist, former footballer for the Rangers, is also outraged and goes on talkSPORT to hash out his anger with host, Laura Woods.
“What sort of a person are you to do something like that!?”
“How can you treat a living creature like that? And in front of your kids!”
“I dread to think what the kids watching him think is acceptable.”
Laura Woods hits out at Kurt Zouma for mistreating a cat. pic.twitter.com/ylZfRStKmI
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) February 8, 2022
Gabby Logan: Former BBC Sports Presenter
This former BBC Sports presenter suggests that West Ham should give Zouma the boot. A fitting punishment for someone who kicked their cat, surely.
I think I would probably get rid of a player who kicked and hit an animal for ‘laughs’ in his kitchen. All in front of his child.
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) February 8, 2022
The RSPCA Removes Zouma’s Cats Pending Investigation
The RSPCA have now successfully removed Zouma’s cats from his home and are investigating the incident. The cats will remain in their care for the time being, but needless to say, they won’t be asking Mr Zouma to be a patron of their charity any time soon.
Update on viral footage of cats
We’d like to reassure people that we’re investigating and the cats are safe and in our care. We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws. pic.twitter.com/LticInSmpn
— RSPCA (England & Wales) (@RSPCA_official) February 9, 2022
30 Million Friends Foundation (La Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis): French Animal Charity Gets Their Lawyers Involved
The French are hugely upset that one of their own would do such a heinous act – so much so that one of France’s biggest animal charities has gotten lawyers involved. According to Article 113-6 of the French Penal Code, the “mistreatment” of animals is now punishable by four years in prison and a £50,000 fine. A spokesperson for the company stated, “We condemn this heinous act, have asked that the player be suspended from the France team, and filed a legal complaint against him.”
Vitality: Suspends Sponsorship with West Ham
Vitality, a sponsor of Zouma’s team, West Ham, made the sharp decision to drop the team following their light-handed punishment of Zouma. They were disappointed with West Ham’s response and felt that more needed to be done. Their sponsorship deal with the club has been frozen until they can assess what West Ham is doing to address this situation further.
— Vitality UK (@Vitality_UK) February 9, 2022
Adidas Drops Sponsorship with Zouma
After Vitality made the announcement that they would be dropping West Ham until further action was taken with Zouma, Adidas dropped their sponsorship of the player, as well, just two hours later. They stated, “We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete.”
Fans ‘Boo’ Zouma at Latest Game & Petition Launches Online
It was reported that even fans are furious with Zouma following the cat kicking incident, so much so that every time he touched the ball at this week’s game between West Ham & Watford he was consistently booed with chants of ‘RSPCA’ heard throughout the stadium.
There is also a petition going around demanding that Zouma is prosecuted and that his animals are removed (which have now been removed by the RSPCA). At the time of writing, over 200k and counting have signed this petition with others created, asking for him to get fired from West Ham. And, as he’s on the French National Team, we wonder if French fans will feel the same way ask for him to be removed from their national team.
What’s Next for Zouma?
With sponsors dropping left and right, it’s not looking great for Zouma. Sponsors are steering well clear from the player not wanting to be associated with animal abuse and is even dropping sponsorships with the team he plays with. Will West Ham stand by him, accepting his apology and fine as good enough? Or, will they be forced to drop him due to his degrading image and angered sponsors? Only time will tell.
The Internet Never Forgets
What we do know is that the Internet never truly forgets with today’s world of smart phones and social media. Whilst the search results for Mr Zouma used to entail football stats and YouTube videos of his career highlights, they now focus on the video of him kicking his own cat and the ramifications of his actions.
Of course we all remember the woman, Mary Bale, who dumped the cat in a wheelie bin – something that has forever scarred many of us. Whilst Mary got away with a £250 fine, Zouma, being a famous footballer in the public eye, will pay dearly. And, whilst he probably hoped he would only be remembered for his football skills, he will now also be remembered for kicking his cat across the room and hitting him or her out of his own child’s arms.
Just so we are clear, Mr Zouma, footballs are made from synthetic materials and do not have ears and a tail.