BMW has confirmed that it is “re-looking” its sponsorship deal with New Zealand’s rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams due to a photo he took with the prominent Muslim speaker Mufti Ismail Menk.
The luxury car company was allegedly inundated with complaints from customers, in particular members of the Jewish and LGBT communities after a photo emerged of Williams posing with Mufti Menk on Twitter.
The furore was sparked due to Mufti Menk’s position on homosexuality – which is the mainstream normative position – that it is a major sin and crime against God.
Williams, a Muslim convert, has taken many photos with Mufti Menk and has tweeted about his encounters with the cleric.
BMW New Zealand’s head of corporate communications, Paul Sherley, told Yahoo News that Williams’ original contract remained unchanged.
However, the company confirmed they would be “re-looking” at his role.
There is currently no mention of Williams on BMW’s website but the car company profiles its other brand ambassadors such as shoe designer Kathryn Wilson and chef Josh Emmet.
Zimbabwe-born Mufti Menk was banned from six UK universities in 2013 due to his views on homosexuality, a common trend for many Muslim activists and scholars in the university circuit.