Kurt Zouma has been taken to court after a video of him slapping and kicking his cat was leaked in February.
The West Ham footballer faced a lot of backlash after the video went on viral on social media, with animal charity the RSPCA removing his cats from his home before undergoing a full investigation into the incident.
Zouma issued an apology after the video of him kicking and slapping his pet cat was made public, and claimed that the abuse seen in the video was an “isolated incident”, however he has since appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court and has pleaded guilty to kicking and slapping his cat. He was sentenced on 1 June.
This is everything you need to know.
In a video obtained by The Sun, the 27-year-old footballer can be seen in his kitchen picking up a cat before dropping it and kicking it into the air across the room.
He can also be seen chasing the cat around the dining room whilst the cameraman, believed to be his brother Yoan, can be heard laughing.
Zouma is then filmed throwing a pair of shoes at the cat as it tries to run away, with the final clip showing him slapping the cat in the face and out of a child’s arms.
According to The Sun, a source said that Zouma was angry at the cat for making a mess in his house.
They said: “It seemed that Kurt got angry at the cat for accidentally smashing some sort of vase and tearing down a light fixture from the kitchen cupboard.
“But what he does next is completely unacceptable. Kurt kicks it, throws shoes at it and then slaps it. The poor cat looked so scared.”
What has Kurt Zouma said about the video?
Following the release of the video, Zouma issued an apology regarding his treatment of the cat.
He said: “I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.
“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.
“They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”
What has West Ham United said?
West Ham United, whom Zouma plays for after being signed in the summer from Chelsea for £29.8 million, also issued a statement “condemning” his actions.
A West Ham club spokesman said: “West Ham United wishes to make clear that we condemn in the strongest terms any form of animal abuse or cruelty. This type of behaviour is unacceptable and is not in line with the values of the football club.
“Within 48 hours of the footage emerging, we fined Kurt the maximum available to the club.
“Every single penny of this money is now with a number of deserving charities, all dedicated to animal welfare.”
Zouma was fined two weeks’ pay by West Ham, with the money - thought to be around £250,000 - being donated to animal welfare charities.
The Frenchman has continued to make appearances for West Ham since the incident.
Has Kurt Zouma been charged?
On 16 March 2022, the RSPCA announced that after a full investigation they had started the process of bringing a prosecution against Kurt Zouma and his brother Yoan under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.
Zouma was charged with animal cruelty and has appeared in court.
The defender pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animal Welfare Act last month, and was handed 180 hours’ community service and told to pay court costs of nearly £9,000.
He was also banned from keeping or caring for cats for five years.
Yoan admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence and was ordered to carry out 140 hours’ community service.
Who is Kurt Zouma?
Zouma is a French professional football player who plays as a centre-back for West Ham United and the France national team.
He signed his first professional football contract in April 2011 when he joined Saint-Étienne, agreeing initially to a three year contract.
Zouma made his professional debut later that year in a Coupe de la Ligue match against Bordeaux.
In 2014, Zouma joined Chelsea on a five and a half year contract for a transfer fee which was believed to be around the £12 million mark. On 28 August 2021, he signed for West Ham United from Chelsea on an initial four year contract.
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