In a move that has the bullfighting industry seeing red, a matador has agreed to advertising a beverage on his cape. According to industry experts, this is the first time such a promotion has appeared in the ring. Some say the cape is sacred part of the "ritual of bullfighting," while others say sponsorship has become the standard in other sports and bullfighting should be no different.
"All sports teams have advertising on their uniforms," matador Joselito Ortega told CNN. The next time he steps in the ring, he will be using pink capes embroidered with the words "Gay Up," the name of the energy drink, which targets the gay market.
"Our hope is that Joselito Ortega becomes a huge figure in bullfighting and an icon for the million of gays that love the sport inside and out of Spain," José María Terrón, the president of the company that produces the drink, told El Mundo.
Ortega, who is heterosexual, just wants to perform well.
"I am a bullfighter. That is not going to change," he told the press. "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. If the gay community welcomes me as an image or a symbol, that is fine."
TRAVEL TOKEN: Which souvenir would you like me to bring home from Spain: a four-pack of "Gay Up," a pink bullfighting cape, or Joselito Ortega?
Bullfighter Joselito Ortega poses with the cape at his home in Benalmadena, southern Spain, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. Ortega is breaking with a sacred tradition, agreeing to serve as an advertising billboard while slaying bulls and endorse a soft drink that caters to gays. (AP Photo/Sergio Torres)