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Photo: ainudil

A little-known Spanish matador is breaking with a sacred tradition, agreeing to advertise a soft drink that caters to the gay community while simultaneously slaying bulls. Tom Gates cries bullshit.

“Matador Joselito Ortega will be plugging a club-scene energy beverage called Gay Up and have those words embroidered into his cape in large, red cursive letters.” (AP)

There are moments when being gay is just fine and dandy, and then there are moments when being gay just plain sucks. It was on about the fourth time that the story was forwarded to me that I knew that this was going to be a real El Suck-O day.

Photo courtesy of Gay Up

Look, I’ll leave the whining about product placement to That Guy. He can bemoan the state of the advertising world, about how every square inch of God’s Green Earth is for sale and how great the old days were, when advertising was just subliminally evil.

I guess if anyone should be pissed then it should be the bull, which should at least be able to make a equal buck displaying its own cheeseburger ad before being slayed or slewn or whatever the hell the past participle of ‘slay’ is.

What yanks my crank is that Ortega – who is, by the way, straight – is playing the Gay Card because his career is in the crapper. According to most reports, Ol’ Joselito is not exactly The Bullfighter Of The Year. He’s been gored many times since his tights-wearing career began in 2006, which is hardly a solid start for a newbie Matador. That’s like a school bus driver killing a few hundred kids before he gets the hang of a big steering wheel.

To be surprised that a pink cape and a gay ad would spark his career is unfathomable, yet Ortega seems to stand by his story that he’s simply trying to break down barriers for both the gay and capitalist communities. He told CNN, “I’m glad to be the first person (in bullfighting) whom the gay community will take as an icon.” Girlfriend thinks he’s Madonna and he’s really just Brooke Hogan.

Says Ortega, “I am a bullfighter. That is not going to change. I am going to go out into the ring as I have done until now, to risk my life, and the seven goring wounds on my body prove that.”

As if there wasn’t enough reason to root for the bull already.

Culture + Religion


About The Author

Tom Gates

Tom is a wayward writer based in Los Angeles. He has served as Editor for both Matador Nights and Life. He loves to go far, far away whenever possible. He is also pretending to be a third person right now and is obviously writing his own bio. He knows that you knew that, despite the deft maneuvering of pronouns. Tom's new book 'Wayward: Fetching Tales from a Year On The Road' is available for download on Amazon and iTunes.

  • david miller

    slain, i think.

    didn’t fully get this part–’Girlfriend thinks he’s Madonna and he’s really just Brooke Hogan’

    feels like i’m missing ‘key cultural references’ but sort of proud about that. i’m that guy.

  • marissa

    I’m really not seeing a problem here. He’s a gay matador (talented or not) who was approached by a soda company to push a product. If that product pushing (or the absolutely absurd slogan) doesn’t bother you, so what if he gets a bit of a career boost? Why wouldn’t he try to take advantage of the chance to be a spokesman? And it’s not completely off base that a gay tough guy in the limelight might be a positive thing for the gay community…

    • Carlo

      I haven’t done the research, but Tom here asserts that the matador is, in fact, straight. Assuming that is true, I can see a definite problem here.

  • Hal Amen

    There are so many wtf elements to this story, I can’t wrap my mind around it! Pink cape, gay energy drink, bullfighting!? Definitely one of those “stranger than fiction” moments.

  • eileen

    Is nobody here bothered by the name of the energy drink? Gay up? What is that? I don’t know which police (English, marketing, gay) should get on that, but somebody should. On the other hand, yay for separate but equal. I mean… I’m so glad that there is an overpriced, chemically-enhanced energy drink for everyone.

  • Paul Sullivan

    Haha, genius. This is wrong on so many levels. Bravo! the REAL gay Matador!

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