Mixed reactions for All Black Williams on dead refugee photo

New Zealander rugby player Sonny Bill Williams receives mixed reactions after he shares photos of two dead refugee children

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

World Cup-winning All Black Sonny Bill Williams posted the images less than a month after he went to camps in Lebanon with UNICEF as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of Syrians there

Sonny Bill Williams from New Zealand’s world cup winning rugby team All Black received multiple reactions after he shared a graphic photo of two Syrian children with fatal wounds on Twitter.

Earlier this month, Williams visited a refugee camp in Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where there are over one million refugees, as a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) ambassador.

"What did these children do to deserve this? This summer share a thought for the innocent lives lost every day in war." Williams tweeted with the photo on Monday.

The share of the photo brought criticism from his followers and media.

"Although I sympathise w[ith] [yo]ur reasons for posting this, it's not wise. It can be a trigger for some p[eo]ple. Also young followers," a follower tweeted.

"Sorry you [feel] the need to post pictures of dead bodies to highlight your cause. Where's your respect?" another said.

Williams received supportive comments too.

"I'm glad you posted this, you created discussion and I applaud you for your humanity in visiting these victims," was one of them.

“If @SonnyBWilliams tweet made you feel uncomfortable and talk about Syria's most vulnerable, then good, that was the point. Well done SBW,” wrote Mike McRoberts, the 3News reporter and anchor.

UNICEF said the images were not taken during the trip and Williams did not consult it before posting the photos.

"I don't think anyone would be happy about those kinds of images. It certainly wasn't something that he consulted us about and they weren't images that he'd taken on the trip with us," UNICEF New Zealand's spokesman Patrick Rose said, according to the New Zealand Herald.

TRTWorld and agencies