The word can be hear loud and clear during opposition goalkeeper kickoffs. “Puto,” which translates roughly to “gay prostitute” and is used widely as an anti-gay slur in Spanish-speaking countries, has a new enemy — Univision. The network came out against the chant Sunday when Mexico faced the Netherlands:
“We recognize that during the game there may be language, or chants, from some fans that are offensive to some members of our television audience. …[W]e do not, in any case, condone or endorse the use of such language. Univision Communications supports a World Cup that is inclusive, one that celebrates the diversity of the sport we love and can be enjoyed by all — absent what can be the hurtful consequences of certain words.”
How the network plans to curb the fans’ behavior, however, is unclear. Muting, it seems, is not an option, or at least the network did not attempt to mute the audio, as the chant could still be heard during the broadcast. ESPN, where the chant can also be heard, also voiced concern over the chant, but said they do not control the audio during the broadcasts.
GLAAD, meanwhile, an organization that supports LGBT rights, launched its #StopTheSlurs World Cup campaign today. Officials there lauded Univision for standing up against the chant, but expressed their continued disappointment with FIFA, which dismissed the issue shortly after it was brought to the association’s attention.
“Univision has taken an important step by standing in solidarity with LGBT fans and calling for an inclusive World Cup, but LGBT fans and allies around the world are still waiting for FIFA to end its silence,” said GLAAD President and chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis. “FIFA’s decision to ignore this issue flies in the face of the spirit of the World Cup, one of unity and respect. FIFA should take this opportunity to educate and join the movement for equality in sports.”