Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson shot to fame in Kerala after he stole hearts with his film Sudani from Nigeria. Samuel played a football player who comes to Kerala as part of a franchise, but breaks his leg before he can participate in the big tournament.
Since then, Samuel has frequently posted about Kerala on his social media - updates about his new films, how he's missing the food of the state and more. However, on Friday, the actor was in for a rude shock after a racist meme featuring him surfaced.
The meme, which came from an Instagram page called 'Offensive Malayalam Memes' (which has now been deleted), has the poster of Sudani from Nigeria and refers to Samuel as an "animal". "A movie that promises 'No animals were harmed in the making of this film' but forgets about this," it says.
Speaking to TNM, Samuel said that the experience was "quite unpleasant" and that he had reported the issue to the police immediately.
"We also contacted friends at Facebook and Instagram to take the page down," he said. However, before they could move on this, the meme pages were deleted.
"The owners probably got scared," said Samuel.
While some people have advised him to take the matter as a "joke", Samuel feels strongly about speaking up against racism.
"It is never okay to attack a person's race. The worst thing to do to a human being is attack them for how they were born. Any attack of such nature is like saying the person shouldn't be born this way - like saying the person isn't good enough to be alive. This is cruel and can send some people into depression. No one should have to endure this. We should all be humans first," he said.
Writing on his Facebook page, Samuel noted that several people had tagged him to the meme. Posting in both Malayalam and English, the actor made it clear that this was far from being a joke.
"Malayalam people are great and i have lots of good friends there but this does not reflect well on the people of Kerala to be honest. This is the most blatant form of Racism i have ever experienced. It’s ironic that the person here is comparing me to an animal when clearly it is their brains that never left the Cebidae primate phase of Evolution," he said.
The actor also did a Facebook Live, explaining that this was not an act of trolling him personally but abusing an entire race. He added that he wished he were in India to report the people who'd made this meme to the police. "It really hurts," he said.
Previously, Samuel had accused the makers of Sudani from Nigeria of racism because they had underpaid him. However, the issue was later settled amicably. The actor even signed another Malayalam film called Purple in which he reportedly plays a negative role.