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Aussie swimmer Rice loses sponsor over homophobic Tweet

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-07

Australian Olympic swimming champion Stephanie Rice lost her Jaguar sponsorship contract after she published on her Twitter account an allegedly homophobic message following Australia’s victory over South Africa in the rugby Tri-Nation.

REUTERS - Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice has lost her sponsorship contract with Jaguar after making an alleged anti-gay comment on a social networking site, local media reported on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old swimmer courted controversy with a "faggot" remark on Twitter following Australia's nail-biting 41-39 victory over South Africa in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

Rice subsequently apologised and deleted the comment but could not save her contract with the luxury car brand.

"We made a decision yesterday, and we've terminated the agreement with her," Mark Eedle, Jaguar Australia's marketing and public affairs manager, was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

Rice will also lose the Jaguar XF car she was given in February when the deal was inked. The swimmer, who won both individual medleys at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was part of Australia's victorious 4x200 freestyle team, later apologised and removed the comment.

"I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologise," she wrote in a blog on her website. Jaguar's decision comes after Rice withdrew from the Australian squad for the Delhi Commonwealth Games after pain in her shoulder convinced her to have surgery sooner rather than after the October event as originally intended.

Rice is also sponsored by Sunrice foods and underwear company Davenport which released a statement saying it did not condone Rice's comment but made no announcement about withdrawing its support for her.

Date created : 2010-09-07