The Daily Express celebrated the tennis player Emma Raducanu’s latest victory with its paper on Wednesday – but the tabloid didn’t win over any fans itself when it put her front page photo next to the latest on the growing migrant crisis.
Raducanu, 18, won her quarter-final match on Tuesday, meaning she has become a surprise contender in the final four of the women’s US Open.
On the same day, home secretary Priti Patel came to the conclusion that, to deter migrants crossing the English Channel, Border Force officials should be able to turn boats away from the shore – a controversial decision France has not backed.
When The Daily Express – known for its anti-migrant stance – made these two stories the centre of its front page, Twitter users were quick to point out the irony.
Raducanu is the daughter of Romanian and Chinese migrants, and came to London herself when she was just two years old. Using her photograph seems to undermine anti-migrant narrative in the Express’ coverage of Patel’s latest policy proposals, as people on Twitter pointed out.
Nooruddean Choudry of JOE media tweeted his interpretation of the divisive front page, writing: “MIGRANTS WILL BE TURNED BACK TO FRANCE!
″…meanwhile well done our Emma, who was born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother and moved to London as a two-year-old.”
MIGRANTS WILL BE TURNED BACK TO FRANCE!
…meanwhile well done our Emma, who was born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother and moved to London as a two-year-old https://t.co/Sf0GsAZYuu
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) September 8, 2021
Another Twitter user claimed: “Not a hint of irony from @Daily_Express.”
The former deputy editor of The Guardian, Paul Johnson, simply tweeted, “Er…” in response to the front page picture.
Not a hint of irony from @Daily_Express
“Migrants will be turned back” headline right next to a picture celebrating the success of an immigrant. British player, Canadian born, daughter of a Chinese mother and Romanian father. pic.twitter.com/IF57rTSN5p
— Murnetti (@CRJM07) September 8, 2021
Other accounts noted how the juxtaposition of the front page provided a “delightful example of how immigrants can be viewed very differently if they happen to be good at sports”.
Wow. The Daily Express with a delightful example of how immigrants can be viewed very differently if they happen to be good at sports. https://t.co/FtsLgQ7rR3
— Douglas Jefferson (@doug_jeff) September 9, 2021
One account summarised it as a “bad migrants vs good migrants” narrative, while others also picked up on the inconsistency between the two images.
One account tweeted: “The state of this front page. The visual representation of ‘when I said I’m against immigration, I didn’t mean you’.”
Seek refuge from war torn countries = bad migrant.
Win tennis matches = good migrant.
— Deasach (@EuKnowIt2) September 8, 2021
Venezuelan former footballer Juan Arango even chimed in, tweeting: “Praise and denigration of immigration depending on how convenient it is for the country.”
For some, only memes of comic Harry Hill captured their bewildered sentiment.
Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.