In the disturbing video, the West Ham United star can be seen kicking and slapping his Bengal cat in front of his brother and a young child.
Zouma’s brother posted the video on Snapchat and The Sun, a UK-based tabloid, later posted it online.
The video surfaced earlier this week and the scandal reached a new level on Wednesday, with Zouma facing a six-figure fine from his football club and losing a bunch of sponsors.
“Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum following his actions in the video that has circulated,” West Ham United said in a statement condemning the video. This amount is estimated at £250,000 (CA$430,000), reports The Guardian.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has also stepped in to take her cats away while they investigate the case after more than 230,000 people signed a petition for her to do so.
“‘The cats are safe and in our care,’ the RSPCA said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Update on viral images of catsnWe would like to reassure people that we are investigating and that the cats are safe and in our care. We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we must follow proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws.pic.twitter.com/LticInSmpn
— RSPCA (England and Wales) (@RSPCA (England and Wales))
“Our priority is and always has been the welfare of these cats. They have been taken for a check up with a vet and will then remain in our care while the investigation continues,” an RSPCA spokesperson said. at Sky News.
English football fans booed Zouma when he took to the pitch for a game on Tuesday.
Vitality, a vitamin and supplement company, on Wednesday suspended its sponsorship of Zouma’s team following the cat incident, while Adidas also announced it was ending its personal sponsorship of Zouma.
Zouma apologized for his actions and said the cats “are loved and cherished” by his family, Yahoo News reported.
“There is no excuse for my behavior, which I sincerely regret. I also want to say how sorry I am to everyone who was upset by the video,” Zouma said.
“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 behavior was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”
The petition against Zouma also called for his arrest, but police have not announced any charges at this stage.
The right cover image of this article was used for illustrative purposes only.