Football legend Matt Le Tissierwas forced into a grovelling apology after he was criticised for appearing to compare wearing a mask to the holocaust.
The sacked Sky Sports pundit deleted a tweet that featured the image of holocaust victim Anne Frank.
His original message told people to “remember this” with the words: “The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law.
“The people who killed her were following it.”
The anti-mask Saints hero backtracked after facing a furious social media backlash for the insensitive post.
Le Tissier, 51, said: “Apologies for the recent tweet.
“Obviously taken out of context so I’ve deleted it so there’s no confusion.”
Many followers were outraged by the original message.
One follower said: “Every day before I login to Twitter I think I’ve seen it all, but on today’s episode we have Matt Le Tissier comparing Anne Frank and the Nazis to people who wear and don’t wear masks on their 2020 bingo card?”
Another added: “Seriously Matt, this is a new low.
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“Comparing being asked to follow safety rules for the benefit of all is not (and I can’t make this clear enough) the same as living in an occupied country in fear for your life because of the religion you happen to be born into.”
Le Tisser, 51, last month left Sky Sports in a shake-up of the network’s football coverage along with Soccer Saturday pals Phil Thompson, 66, and Charlie Nicholas, 58.
The former England midfielder has been an outspoken critic against wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the prevailing medical advice.
Six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, including Anne Frank, whose diary chronicling her time hiding from the Nazis made her famous after her death.
Another outraged follower of Le Tissier said: “Remember that those that sheltered her were sheltering the vulnerable.
“You wearing a mask and carrying out social distancing is doing the same.”
Some social media users were calling for Southampton to review Le Tissier’s position as an ambassador for the club.
Southampton have been contacted for comment.