World Cup broadcaster TyC Sports cans contentious ad scolding Russian LGBT law
Argentinian broadcaster TyC Sports has pulled a controversial ad ahead of the World Cup which had sought to berate Russia's laws banning "gay propaganda," but wound up being described as "homophobic" itself.
The firm took a swing at the country's national LGBT policy in a risqué video that was meant to condemn the World Cup host ahead of the tournament in June, but has since pulled the spot.
The film made light of Russian legislation which means that individuals deemed to be promoting "homosexual behaviour among minors" could face fines of up to 5,000 roubles (£67; $85). Officials, meanwhile, face a charge 10-times that amount and businesses and schools can be fined up to 500,000 roubles.
TyC Sports showed instances in which it claimed football could be found guilty of breeching those laws, showing moments in game it said could be classified as "gay propoganda".
Such behaviour, according to the broadcaster, included men crying at the football, hugging, wrestling, streaking and sniffing jerseys.
It was one of the first ads out of the gate to mock Russian president Vladimir Putin’s law this World Cup, with the voiceoiver stating: “Mr. Putin, if love among men is a disease for you, then we are very sick. And you know what? It’s contagious.”
It added: “Mr. Putin, we found out that your country does not admit displays of love among men. So we are in trouble.”
Nonetheless, Newsweek reports that the ad was quickly pulled from TV and online after its assertion that certain actions were "gay" inspired criticism on social media, with some commentators saying it was "homophobic" and played on stereotypes.
Brands may be wary of trying to make light of the situation of Russia.
Accusations of the torture and kidnapping of gay people have been levied against Chechen authorities. Meanwhile, gay fans attending the games have been advised not to hold hands.
Furthermore, Reuters underlined that hate crimes against LGBT people have more than doubled since the Russian gay propaganda law was brought into play in 2012.