On Wednesday, the Haas F1 Team confirmed that Nikita Mazepin will still be driving for them next year despite him groping an Instagram model earlier this month and posting the video onto social media.
Understandably, this prompted a tirade of criticism on social media, with some F1 fans even urging Haas’ sponsors to boycott them for not taking action against Mazepin.
Meanwhile, RT, a Russian government-funded propaganda website, was quick to publish an opinion piece defending Nikita Mazepin and downplaying the severity of his actions.
“The decision by F1 team Haas to stick with Nikita Mazepin despite the Russian driver’s social media video nasty has handed cancel culture a rare defeat, and showed that disproportionate anger need not always win the day,” the article reads.
Continuing, RT described the F1 community’s reaction as “way beyond the outer bounds of proportionality, even in this easily-offended age in which we live” and even criticised the Haas F1 Team for describing Mazepin’s actions as “abhorrent” instead of defending the Russian driver.
“Yes, it really was one of those occasions when the hyperventilation from the social justice brigade was palpable in the tirade of tweets which spewed forth,” the opinion piece added.
“Haas can expect the fury to linger as bitter fans bombard any and every social media post from the team with messages of spite directed at them and Mazepin.
“Some sponsors may well be more wary of doing business with them. That is the burden they will have to bear for daring to defy to the easily-outraged masses.
“Money may well have played a part in the Haas decision to keep Mazepin. His father, Russian billionaire Dmiitry Mazepin, will reportedly be among the Haas sponsors now that his son is joining the team.
“But faced with backing their driver and ensuring the team have the funds to line up on the grid next season, or folding in the face of a confected cacophony of keyboard outrage, Haas took the logical option.”
Concluding, the Russian propaganda agency claimed that “cancel culture was handed a headline-grabbing defeat” and “the decision by Haas has given us a victory for common sense and rational thinking.”
With the goal of whitewashing Mazepin’s sexual assault, the article conveniently failed to mention a number of important details, such as the Instagram model’s social media posts following the incident and the fact that Nikita Mazepin recently deleted his apology.