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Demons sponsor in race slur row
02:57 AEST Thu Apr 5 2012

The Melbourne Football Club's major sponsor has admitted to making scores of offensive remarks on Facebook.

The Herald Sun says Ben Polis, chief executive and co-owner of EnergyWatch, which gives the Demons about $2 million a year, admitted attacking Aborigines, Asians, women and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Among the most disturbing comments, Polis reportedly took a shot at Melbourne star Liam Jurrah, following his arrest last month in Darwin over a machete attack. Polis wrote that when Jurrah "came to the Dees they thought he had tribal tats but it was ring worm. He had never been to a doctor in his life, he comes from out back bit past Carrum Downs."

He also wrote that Asian women "add no value to society apart from insurance premiums ’cause they can’t drive."

When confronted with the allegations Polis was keen to play down the comments as private jokes that were never meant to see the light of day.

"You're taking private comments in relation to something that I'm talking to friends about," he said.

"Do I have any beef with Aboriginals? No I don't. If you get on to my Facebook I make comments about every single race."

"In relation to Liam Jurrah ... has it offended the Melbourne Football Club, well obviously the answer is yes, I think they will probably be very upset. I want to apologise to Liam Jurrah."

Mr Polis is also accused of calling Prime Minister Julia Gillard a "peasant" and calling EnergyWatch customers who called on Christmas Day "Muslims and Jews".

The latest furore comes as Melbourne deals with its own race row after a false story was spread by AFL national community engagement manager and most senior indigenous employee Jason Mifsud about coach Mark Neeld.

He had been told that Neeld would speak with non-indigenous players separately but spoke with his indigenous players as a group.

He passed that story on to former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas who put it in his online column.

The Melbourne board was reportedly in crisis mode trying to decide if the club will continue with EnergyWatch as a sponsor.


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