Europe

Belgian weather presenter hits back at critics who say she's 'too black'

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Belgium weather presenter Cécile Djunga has delivered a scathing response to her critics who say she is "too black".

Belgian footballer Christian Kabasele and members of the government in the Walloon region of Belgium have spoken in support of Cécile Djunga after she called out racist insults.

The weather presenter on Belgium's French-language public TV (RTBF) has called for a campaign to stamp out racism in the country.

She said the campaign could be modelled on an anti-sexual harassment campaign to "rat on your pig" (balance ton porc).

In a video that has since gone viral on Facebook, Ms Djunga said she had been receiving and ignoring racist insults for the past year before she decided to speak up.

It was a viewer who called in saying she was “too black” that prompted her to post the 5-minute video on Facebook that has since been viewed 1.4 million times.

Attempting to put a positive spin on it, she addressed her followers on Facebook with a lighthearted introduction.

"If you want a good laugh, I've got a good one for you today,” she said in French.

But the frustration soon became evident.

"It doesn't stop,” she said. “I've been doing this job for a year and I'm fed up of getting tonnes of racist and insulting messages... It hurts because I'm a human being."

Weather presenter Cécile Djunga for Belgium's French-language public TV (RTBF).
Weather presenter Cécile Djunga for Belgium's French-language public TV (RTBF).
Instagram

She said racist messages like “go back to your country” had been disturbing to hear.

"I am Belgian and now they're going to stop telling me to go back to my country. Because this is my country," she said.

Ms Djunga said she was speaking out to dispel the belief that racism did not exist in Belgium.

Speaking on Belgium TV on Wednesday, she said others had also shared their experiences as victims of racism and she wants a broader debate on the issue.

Her appeal has triggered an outpouring of support with many well wishes posting messages of encouragement.

Among her supporters is footballer Christian Kabasele, a Congolese-born Belgian professional footballer who currently plays as a defender for Watford in the Premier League.

"Just a little message to all our racist friends,” he posted on Twitter. “ Don't get jealous if some people have managed to give their lives meaning while you haven't! I hope you get the message. Bravo, stay strong @ceciledjunga"

Ms Djunga’s employer said she has their full support.

RTBF head, Jean-Paul Philippot, said Ms Djunga had notified the organisation of the hate messages she had received in recent months.

"There's no place for this torrent of mud in Belgium," he said. "Racism is a crime, punishable by law."

Senior members of the Walloon government said they support messages of equality and diversity in media organisations.

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