After being accused and taxed because of his racist remarks made during a 2017 Fed Cup press conference on then to-be-born Olympia Ohanian, former world number one Ilie ”Nasty” Năstase claims that he sees no trace of racism in what he said about Serena Williams’ unborn child.
At the time of the aforementioned press conference, Serena Williams was pregnant in 20 weeks with Olympia Ohanian, and when the topic came into discussion, Ilie Năstase had a disturbing commentary: ”Let’s see what color the child has… Chocolate with milk?” After hearing about the supposed racist remark, ITF started an investigation to see if a sanction is applicable to the then captain of Romania’s Fed Cup team.
Serena Williams’ response at the time
It hadn’t taken long for Serena to react to Năstase’s remarks. “It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and se*ist comments against my peers.
I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers — however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do.
I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right”, Serena Williams wrote on Instagram. Furthermore, she quoted Maya Angelou: “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words… you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise”.
Ilie Năstase says he wasn’t racist
After hearing all the noise his declarations had made in the press, Ilie told the Associated Press: “I want to know what word I used is racist?” Moreover, this week he told Romanian media during the show “40 de întrebări cu Denise Rifai” what really happened.
“The press exaggerated. I’m a good friend of Serena’s father, I know her and Venus since they were 12. This remark was like a joke. That she is like chocolate… What does being like chocolate mean? It means neither white nor black, doesn’t it? If this is racism, I don’t understand it”.
The Arthur Ashe argument
Besides talking about the exaggeration of the press, the former world number one invoked the friendly teasing he had with Arthur Ashe, the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
”I have no business with this! I played doubles with Arthur Ashe, who was of color. We were joking a lot. He was calling me `Commie` (short for communist), and I was calling him `Negroni`. No one got upset because of that,” Ilie Năstase narrated.