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Brands respond to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s rape allegations

Brands respond to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s rape allegations
[Photo: Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images]

Italian soccer giants Juventus are sticking by their man. The Series A club today tweeted out its support for Cristiano Ronaldo, who transferred to the club this past summer after nine years at Real Madrid, amid rape allegations.

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Late last week, Kathryn Mayorga filed a lawsuit filed in Clark County, Nevada, accusing Ronaldo of a 2009 rape in a Las Vegas hotel room. The lawsuit also says that Ronaldo and his legal team coerced her into signing a $375,000 settlement and nondisclosure agreement in 2009. The suit, which seeks to void the agreement, follows a detailed investigative report in the German magazine Der Spiegel, and the Las Vegas police have reopened the investigation.

The 33-year-old Juventus and Portugal star is the face of many brand campaigns, including for Nike and EA Sports’s FIFA franchise, and took to Instagram Live on Wednesday to deny the accusations. “What they said today, fake–fake news. They want to promote by my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous–to say my name. Yeah but it’s part of the job. I’m (a) happy man and all, all good.”

Juventus’s response is in sharp contrast to what appears to be that of EA Sports. Ronaldo was originally announced as one of two cover stars on FIFA 19, the latest edition of EA’s insanely popular FIFA franchise. He was also the cover star for FIFA 18. As of now, the FIFA 19 site shows no sign of the cover star.

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, the company said, “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.”

Ronaldo’s other highest profile (and lucrative) endorsement deal is with Nike, which is a reported lifetime contract worth an estimated $1 billion. In a statement to Fast Company, a Nike spokesperson said, “We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

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