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An ad to combat homophobia in football in Europe was released online after causing controversy over its harsh language.
The Football Association has come under fire for not being proactive enough in squashing homophobic remarks made by fans and players during the games in the past. The ad, which was made to put a spotlight on the inappropriate nature of homophobia, has been postponed from launching this week.
The video was made in conjunction with the group Kick It Out, which advocates for ending homophobia, racism, sexism, and other defamatory behavior in sports.
The ad features a football fan on a normal day on the train and at work aggressively using homophobic language. It then ends with the man in
the stands at a football match using the same language. A caption then asks why homophobia should be be acceptable at a football
match if it's not acceptable anywhere else.
U.K. gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell said that the ad was supposed to be shown at the famed Wembley Stadium in London to much fanfare after two years of planning the public relations campaign. However, the event was postponed just days before the official launch.
Tatchell wrote in The Guardian of London that the Football Association likely postponed the launch because the ad made members feel uncomfortable. Athletes like John Amaechi, an NBA player who came out in 2007, called the ad "offensive," "incendiary," and "vulgar."
However, others have supported it, like Donal Og Cusack, an Irish hurler who came out in 2009.
"The FA is showing excellent leadership in this," he said on the Kick It Out website. "When I came out to a team which was at the top of its game the reaction could be summed up in two words: 'Yeah? So?' Anything less than that response dishonors and disfigures any sport we play or are associated with and that's why this film and campaign is so important."
The minute-long spot was produced by Ogilvy. It is available below, but the language may be slightly NSFW.