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Mexicans urged to chant ‘Putin’ instead of gay slur ‘puto’ at Russia World Cup

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The offensive chant won’t go away.

Germany v Mexico: Semi-Final - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017
Mexican fans at a match in Russia in 2017.
Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

A beer company wants Mexican fans at the upcoming World Cup in Russia to chant “Putin” instead of the gay slur “puto.” Russia’s ambassador to Mexico is not amused.

Victoria beer, a subsidiary of the Modelo brand, came up with a campaign to have Mexican fans at the games chant the last name of Russian President Vladimir Putin when the opposing goalie was kicking the ball inbounds and not “puto,” which is a homophobic slur.

The Mexican soccer federation has been fined numerous times for fans chanting the word and it’s become a black mark on the national team and its fans, despite the claim by some that’s it’s a cultural tradition.

Victoria came up with the idea (“We Mexicans are ingenious, creative,” a spokesman said), but the attempt to diffuse one issue raised another when Eduard Malayán, Russia’s ambassador to Mexico, objected.

“We are not so dumb to understand that it is a play on words,” said the Malayán. “It is not common to shout names or surnames of political personalities in our stadiums.”

After Russia’s complaint about its president’s name being used as a chant, the beer company dropped its campaign and apologized.

Malayán said that Russian security officials would remove anyone shouting “puto” during the World Cup, though how that can be accomplished if a throng shouts it in unison remains to be seen. The first test will be June 17 when Mexico plays defending World Cup champion Germany in Moscow.

Russia is already under pressure to make the monthlong event starting June 14 safe for LGBT fans, many of whom are nervous given the anti-gay laws passed in 2013. Having Mexican fans chant a gay slur will only add to the controversy.