Snoop Dogg has been criticised by a leading alcohol awareness charity for posting pictures of himself and former footballer Paul Gascoigne on Instagram to illustrate the impact of alcohol on his appearance.
The US rapper uploaded a picture showing him and the ex-England midfielder at the ages of 20 and 47, in an apparent attempt to show that his “marijuana abuse” was safer than addiction to alcohol.
Gascoigne, 52, who has repeatedly struggled with alcoholism and mental health issues over the years, later hit back at the hip hop legend and he has now received the backing of Alcohol Change UK, which accused the Gin And Juice rapper of using his platform to stigmatise those who suffer health issues in the public spotlight.
Andrew Misell, a director at the charity, told Sky News: “It’s difficult to understand what Snoop Dogg was thinking when he posted this. But whatever his reasons, it’s an unhelpful contribution to the debate around alcohol.
“Paul Gascoigne has been struggling for many years with a range of health issues, often in the full glare of the media spotlight. Anyone experiencing such harms deserves better and should not be stigmatised in this way.”
Snoop Dogg – who has famously been an advocate for cannabis for years – has already been widely called out after posting the comparison images, with Piers Morgan describing them as “nasty”.
Twitter users said they had “lost all respect for Snoop” and that the pictures were “bullying and unacceptable”.
Mr Misell added: “Photos such as these do nothing to help us understand the impacts of alcohol harm on individuals, which are often complex and varied.
“Making comparisons such as this on social media is simply wrong.”
Gascoigne, who helped England to the semi-finals of Euro 96 with what many consider to be one of the greatest goals in tournament history against Scotland, took some time to respond to the Instagram post as he had been enjoying a holiday in Benidorm when the outcry began.
The 47-year-old music star has not issued his own response to the backlash, but will no doubt continue to use his social media pages to sing the praises of cannabis in whatever way he sees fit.
Cannabis is legal for recreational use in 10 states across the United States, and is illegal in dozens of other countries around the world – including the UK.
The drug was legalised for medicinal purposes on prescription in the UK last year, but the Home Office has said the government has “no plans to decriminalise recreational cannabis” despite calls for a review into the law.