Lewis Hamilton praised the pulling down of Bristol’s Edward Colston statute on Sunday before asking which other “racist symbols” would also be taken down.
The statue of Colston – a 17th century slave trader – was pulled down during Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol, before being dumped in the river.
The Formula 1 racing driver posted on his Instagram: “Slave trader Edward Colston statute pulled down!!!
“Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves! All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down!'
The six-time world champion elaborated on his question in a separate post. It read: “I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tweeted: “This is not OK”, while Home Secretary Priti Patel called the actions “utterly disgraceful”.
The statue of Colston was erected in the city’s centre in 1895 but Rees called the statue a “personal affront” while declaring that he didn’t have “any real sense of loss” for the statue’s destruction.
The statue has been a constant point of contention, with regular petitions to have it pulled down considered by local officials.
A number of other athletes have called for institutions that also share Colston’s name to be changed. Former footballer Liam Rosenior and England rugby player Ellis Genge – who both grew up in Bristol – asked Colston’s School to consider a name change.