MELBOURNE, Australia – Melbourne Demons of the Australian Football League have ended their association with a major sponsor after a series of racist and sexist remarks attributed to the company's chief executive were seen on a social networking site.
The Australian Rules soccer club said Thursday the comments, first reported by Melbourne's Herald-Sun newspaper and made by EnergyWatch's CEO Ben Polis on Facebook, were "disgraceful and abhorrent."
The sponsorship deal was reported to be worth about $2 million annually. Polis later resigned as chief executive with EnergyWatch, a company he founded.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who was the subject of the derogatory remarks along with those against an Aboriginal Demons player, said the comments were "deeply offensive."