Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Aviation Chief’s Claim that Man Travelling in Stolen Passport Looked Like Mario Balotelli Sparks Outrage

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 11, 2014 6:40 PM EST

Malaysia's Aviation Chief has come under staunch criticism in social media after he said that one of the men who used stolen passport looks like Italian footballer, Maria Balotelli.

Wiki Commons
Malaysia's Aviation Chief has come under staunch criticism in social media after he said one of the men who used stolen passport looks like Italian footballer, Maria Balotelli. (Picture: Wiki Commons)

The comparison was made at a press conference by the Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority head Azharudin Abdul Rahman.

Rahman had been asked to confirm an earlier assertion made by Malaysia's Home Minister that the two men who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 looked like Asians.

Rahman denied the statement by Home Minister and emphasised that one's skin colour cannot really indicate which country that person belongs to. He even gave a reference to Balotelli - a Ghanaian-born Italian footballer with AC Milan and Italian international to stress on his point.

The reference has angered many people in the social media for more than a few reasons. Firstly the reference to Balotteli was followed by an outburst of laughter in the conference - making many people feel that it could be a case of racial profiling.

Rahman referred to the footballer after initially struggling to pronounce his name, which led to an explosion of laughter in the room packed with journalists.

"Do you know a footballer by the name of Bartoli (sis)? He's an Italian. Do you know what he looks like? Balotelli," he told reporters late on Monday.

He correctly pronounced the name as Balotelli after journalists suggested it - an event that suddenly turned the serious discourse on the missing Malaysian flight to a seemingly funny chat.

Following are some of the reactions to this issue on Twitter:

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(Photo: Wiki Commons / )
Malaysia's Aviation Chief has come under staunch criticism in social media after he said one of the men who used stolen passport looks like Italian footballer, Maria Balotelli. (Picture: Wiki Commons)
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