Carlton Cole apologises for using the word ‘holocaust’ over West Ham’s clash against Manchester City

BBC pundit Carlton Cole sparks outrage by suggesting Manchester City’s match against West Ham could ‘be a holocaust’ live on radio – and he later apologises on Twitter after furious listeners call for him to be sacked

  • Carlton Cole has apologised for using the word ‘Holocaust’ as a football pundit
  • Cole was discussing West Ham’s match versus Manchester City on BBC Radio
  • Social media users were outraged by Cole’s comment and called for his sacking 

Former England striker Carlton Cole has caused uproar on radio commentary by using the word ‘holocaust’ when discussing potential results in Sunday’s upcoming football fixtures. 

The incident occurred on BBC Radio 5 Live‘s Premier League Sunday show, on which Cole was a pundit. Discussing West Ham’s clash against champions Manchester City, Cole described a potential loss for the Hammers as ‘a holocaust’. 

‘You’ve got to give Man City some respect,’ Cole said, ‘otherwise you’re going to get picked off and then it’s going to be a holocaust, and you don’t want that.’ 

Carlton Cole has apologised for using the word ‘holocaust’ as a BBC football pundit on Sunday

The comment was initially allowed to pass before the BBC host and then Cole apologised on air for the error, though observers noted that none of the other panellists on the show challenged Cole over his use of the word.   

The Holocaust, carried out by the Nazis during the Second World War, claimed the lives of around six million Jews. 

Cole apologised for his remarks on the same show, saying: ‘I’d just like to apologise to the listeners for a totally unacceptable phrase that I used earlier in the show.

‘I’m sorry if I’ve offended anybody, really and truly. Sorry.’ 

BBC host Steve Crossman said on air: ‘I just want apologise on behalf of the programme for an unacceptable phrase that was used on air in the last half hour. 

‘It should not have been said and we’re very sorry for anyone who heard that and was upset by it.’ 

Social media users were enraged by Cole’s comments, with several calling for the ex-West Ham and Chelsea forward to be fired.

‘Should be sacked but we know he won’t be,’ wrote one Twitter user, while another called it ‘totally disgusting and unforgivable’ and said Cole ‘should never appear on the BBC ever again.’

‘An absolutely disgraceful use of words’, said one observer, before praising the BBC for ‘apologising swiftly’.

Cole apologised on air on the same show, saying he was 'really and truly' sorry for his remarks

Cole apologised on air on the same show, saying he was ‘really and truly’ sorry for his remarks

Another social media user noted the particularly awful timing of Cole’s comment, with it coming at the beginning of the Jewish festival of Hannukah. 

As well as his on-air apology, Cole took to Twitter to apologise directly to some of his critics. 

Responding to one commenter who told Cole to educate himself about the meaning of the word ‘holocaust’, Cole said: ‘I have Paulo and I apologise’.

Another Twitter user called on Cole to apologise and he responded: ‘Sorry mate. Poor form from me.’ 

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘An unacceptable reference was used during Premier League Sunday and 5 Live apologised for this on air during the show.’ 

Cole’s blunder comes just weeks after Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton used the same terminology when describing his team’s poor performance. 

Manager Joey Barton compared a poor Bristol Rovers' performance to the Holocaust last month

Manager Joey Barton compared a poor Bristol Rovers’ performance to the Holocaust last month

The manager said that there was ‘no malice or offence intended’ when he referred to Rovers’ 3-1 loss to Newport as the Holocaust and promised to use ‘better analogies in future’.   

In his post-match interview in October, Barton said: ‘I said to the lads during the week, “the team’s almost like musical chairs”. Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured. 

‘Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster.’ 

The FA contacted Barton over his use of language and he subsequently apologised, though not without blaming the ‘modern day world we live in’ for being the reason why people were ‘offended’ by his comments.