An Argentinian sports television channel has drawn attention to Russia’s controversial gay propaganda law with a bawdy ad as Moscow prepares to host the opening of the World Cup next month.
Russia introduced legislation banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships to children” in 2013 with fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($1,600). Despite the ban, Russian football officials vowed to allow spectators at the June-July championship in Russia to fly rainbow LGBT flags, taking a page from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“Mr. Putin, if love among men is a disease for you, then we are very sick. And you know what? It’s contagious,” says the voiceover in a commercial released by the TyC Sports channel Thursday, addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There’s nothing more exciting than to see a bunch of men jumping naked in the locker room,” the voiceover of the commercial is heard saying, featuring images of Putin, a streaker, screaming fans and Argentine football legends Maradona and Messi.
The ad was pulled from YouTube and Twitter hours after LGBT advocates criticized it for insensitivity and homophobia, Newsweek magazine reported.
“The channel wanted to describe the unrivaled passion of the Argentinians for football, but the idea was not developed in the best way,” wrote the local Diario Popular newspaper.