Mastercard suspends Neymar ads while Nike expresses 'concern' following rape allegation

Neymar has denied the allegations / Mastercard

Mastercard has paused an ad campaign featuring Brazil forward Neymar following an allegation the footballer raped a woman in a Paris hotel room.

The footballer has denied the allegations, but Mastercard told three of Brazil’s biggest newspapers that its entire Copa America tournament marketing push, which included activations starring Neymar, would be suspended until the situation “cleared up”.

Nike – which featured the player in its Women’s World Cup ad last week – has also issued a statement following the accusation from Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza, who filed a complaint with police in São Paulo last week and waived her right to anonymity to speak to Brazilian press.

Though it hasn’t yet halted any Neymar-fronted campaigns as a result of the claims, Nike said it was keeping an eye on any developments.

“We are very concerned by the recent allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” a spokesperson said.

Neymar is popular among sponsors. He is the face of over 27 companies in Brazil and beyond and an ambassador for more, earning him the fifth spot in Forbes’ highest paid athletes list last year.

Press representatives for McDonald’s Corp and Procter & Gamble Co’s Gillette brand, which both featured Neymar prominently in ad campaigns in 2018, said they had no current contract with him, according to The Guardian.

Following media reports on the accusations this week, Neymar posted a video on Instagram, denying the accusations and saying he was a victim of extortion. He also shared messages he had exchanged with Mendes de Souza.

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