Héritier Lumumba (formerly known as Harry O’Brien) is suing Collingwood Football Club and the AFL over alleged racist abuse he was subject to in his time as a player.
According to The Age, the documents filed in the Supreme Court say that Collingwood breached their “duty of care” towards him, due to the racial abuse that he had to endure.
The file also alleges that the club did not provide him with a safe working environment.
The documents state that the AFL “owed a duty to the plaintiff [Lumumba] to take reasonable steps to prevent players subjecting other players to racial abuse and racially-offensive conduct, and to impose sanctions on players who breached those rules”.
“On numerous occasions during his employment, the plaintiff was subjected to racial abuse or racially-offensive conduct,” the court documents read.
The documents also outline the repercussions on Lumumba’s mental health due to the racism he copped, stating he had suffered “trauma, humiliation, distress, and loss of enjoyment”.
Lumumba said that the abuse and racially offensive conduct stopped when he was traded to the Melbourne Football Club in 2014.
In 2017, Lumumba talked about his lived experiences of racism in the AFL in the documentary Fair Game, described as controversial at the time.
After the doco release, The Project came under fire for an interview between Lumumba and Waleed Aly in 2017. Lumumba then accused Aly and The Project of white supremacy, claiming they displayed “silence and indifference to black pain” during his interview.
— The Project (@theprojecttv) September 12, 2017
In July this year, Collingwood appointed Indigenous Professor Larrisa Behrendt to lead the investigation into the allegations of racism made by Lumumba, who said he was subject to racial slurs including ‘Chimp’ at the club.
However, Lumumba did not want to take part in the investigation as he believed that it was an insulting attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.
President of the Collingwood Football Club and host of Millionaire Hot Seat, Eddie McGuire spoke about how the club was investigating the allegations in June.
“We’re going to do this forensically but we’re not looking to prosecute,” McGuire said.
“We want to find what’s gone on. I’ve spoken to some people and I’ve found different things, the nuances that I had no idea [about],” he added.
Eddie McGuire is also the same person who said that Adam Goodes should be in King Kong.Image: Getty Images / Robert Prezioso