FORMER England footballer Matt Le Tissier sparked a Twitter storm today after referencing Anne Frank in an apparent defence of people who do not wear face masks.
Le Tissier, who has come under fire in recent weeks for criticising the government's response to the crisis, retweeted a photo of the Holocaust victim with the caption "Remember this".
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The image showed a photograph of Anne Frank, with the caption: "The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law.
"The people who killed her were following it."
Le Tissier shared the tweet after it was posted in direct response to an incident where a police officer allegedly pepper-sprayed a man who refused to wear a mask on a Merseyrail train on Wednesday, claiming he had a medical condition.
The ex-Southampton star, who was sacked from his position as a pundit on Soccer Saturday last week, has been outspoken in his belief that face masks should not be mandatory.
He has previously claimed it is "only the elderly and people with existing conditions that are at risk…but you'd think everyone was going to die by the way it's being reported".
Guardian reporter Rob Davies wrote: "Hi Matt, perhaps you're being ignorant rather than deliberately offensive but please don't invoke the Holocaust to support your crackpot views about masks. Thanks in advance."
To that, the ex-footballer responded with four cry laughing emojis.
Chris McDermott, who represented Great Britain at the London Olympics, tweeted: "Murder of 6 million Jews ≠ wearing a mask in public to protect societies most vulnerable."
In response to the replies, Le Tissier said: "This appears to have got a lot of bots and trolls tweeting me about about masks! Yet I've just checked again and still I find no reference to masks anywhere in the original tweet! #strangeworld".
Le Tissier later deleted the post and issued an apology.
He said: "Apologies for the recent tweet. Obviously taken out of context so I've deleted it so there's no confusion."
Le Tissier is an official club ambassador at Southampton FC, where he made 540 apperances and scored 209 times.
Southampton FC have been contacted for a response.
Le Tissier was sacked from his position at Sky Sports last week, along with Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas in a bid to freshen up the show's panel of pundits.
Le Tissier had questioned bosses' decision to wear a Black Lives Matter badge on air in June.
The former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson, 52, and presenter Jeff Stelling, 65, will remain in their roles.
Last month Le Tissier announced he was quitting social media "for a couple of weeks" in a furious open letter on Twitter.
He hit out at trolls for trying to "ruin his life and get him sacked" over his controversial views on Covid-19.
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