Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd debut: Feminist group set to protest amid rape allegations

Cristiano Ronaldo

Feminist campaign group Level Up are planning to protest at Man United’s game against Newcastle at Old Trafford today, amid the “unresolved allegations” against Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese forward is expected to receive a heroes welcome upon his return to the Theatre of Dreams, but Level Up are aiming to “disrupt the fanfare.”

This is due to the accusations against Ronaldo by Kathryn Mayorga, who claimed the United player raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009, shortly before his world-record transfer to Real Madrid.

At the time of the alleged sexual assault, Mayorga hired a lawyer, who advised reaching a settlement out of court with the Portuguese international rather than pressing criminal charges.

In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, the former school teacher and model stressed how she was purportedly paid to remain silent, but had documents that could be “extremely dangerous for him [Ronaldo].”

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Ronaldo denied the allegations made against him, saying the crime attributed to him “goes against everything I am and believe in.” His lawyers also claimed the documents Mayorga was referring to were fabricated.

Despite the case being reopened in 2018, the Las Vegas police concluded the claims “could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

Mayorga is suing Ronaldo for damages in a civil case, which is still being processed through the Nevada court system.

Campaign group Level Up are unhappy about what they describe as “universal silence” around these allegations. Yesterday they tweeted: “One of the world’s most famous footballers has been accused of rape but there’s been almost universal silence about it.

“It’s time to break the silence around the Ronaldo rape allegations. Sign the pledge to show you #BelieveKathrynMayorga #MeToo.”

So far, the pledge has received more than 1300 signatures, with Level Up hoping to hit at least 2000.

The group describe themselves as: “a growing community of UK feminists whose mission is to interrupt all forms of gender injustice.”

Their vision is a world where people of all genders are accepted by all and free from systemic violence.

So far, Level Up has successfully gotten ITV2 to ban plastic surgery and diet pill ads shown during Love Island and launched the UK’s first media guidelines on reporting fatal domestic abuse.

Moreover, the campaigners have stood up for trans rights in the Gender Recognition Act consultation and spearheaded an investigation into Facebook’s poor handling of harassment.

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