Bullying allegations at Black Cyclists Network see sponsors reconsider
Science in Sport cuts ties, Zwift pauses involvement as accusations surrounding BCN's founder are investigated
The Black Cyclists Network is under pressure, with sponsors distancing themselves from the organisation amid allegations of bullying and harassment on the part of founder Mani Arthur.
Cycling Weekly (opens in new tab) revealed on Friday that Arthur, who founded the community-based club in 2018, has been accused of improper conduct towards junior members of the amateur racing team.
At least four of BCN’s sponsors have addressed the allegations, with nutrition partner Science in Sport cutting all ties, while Zwift has put its backing on hold until the matter is resolved.
BCN has claimed it asked British Cycling to conduct an investigation and that no disciplinary measures will be taken as a result.
"We can confirm that we have terminated the company's relationship with BCN. This decision was not taken lightly," read a statement from Science in Sport to Cycling Weekly.
"We are strongly supportive of encouraging wide participation in sport, and shared BCN's aims for greater inclusion in cycling. However, the deeply troubling state of affairs at the club and breach of trust, obliged us to take this serious step."
Online training platform Zwift provided a statement of its own, saying it remained 'committed to the cause' of promoting diversity in cycling, but needed to 'pause' its involvement with BCN.
”Zwift does not tolerate bullying, hate speech, harassment, threats, or personal attacks - within the game or anywhere else,” said a spokesperson. "We have been made aware of allegations of bullying against members of the Black Cyclists Network. We take all allegations seriously and have taken the decision to pause our activity with BCN while we investigate further."
Two further sponsors in Dhb and Prime Bike Components have also confirmed that they are "in the process of investigating and are taking the matter very seriously".
BCN was established by Arthur in 2018 with the aim of promoting cycling among people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
The organisation grew significantly as the Black Lives Matter movement gained widespread recognition in 2020, attracting a host of notable sponsors. Last year, it launched a racing team to compete on the domestic circuit in the UK, with plans for international expansion in the future.
The specifics of the allegations surrounding Arthur have not been revealed. Cylingnews has contacted Arthur, who has yet to respond to a request for comment. This article will be immediately updated if a response is received.
A Black Cyclists' Network spokesperson told Cycling Weekly: "When the concerns about bullying were raised to Black Cyclists' Network (BCN) senior management, BCN contacted British Cycling to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of bullying.
"British Cycling concluded that no disciplinary measures will be taken and made recommendations which BCN are implementing. BCN has formed a Committee and senior members within the club will be undergoing training to better understand how to handle contentious situations with members later this year as a part of ongoing learning and development."
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