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Gay Up Meets "Goring" Wounds

Photo: Getty Images

A Spanish bullfighter is looking to make a little extra cash by using his cape to advertise a new beverage aimed at gays. Matador Joselito Ortega will peddle Gay Up -- originally a soft drink from Columbia made from strawberries but re-conceptualized for its European release as an energy drink to capture queer dollars -- from the ring despite the fact the move is causing controversy in the macho bullfighting community.

"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," he told The AP Wednesday. "If the gay community welcomes me as an image or a symbol, that is fine." Ortega added, "It is a matter of changing what is normal, or usual, within this world that seems so untouchable."

Ortega officially became a matador three years ago but has spent little time in the ring due to injuries stemming from repeated gorings. It is his relative obscurity that makes his spokesmanship possible as it's virtually unheard of for a top rated matador -- many of whom are considered as famous as movie stars or more conventional sports figures in Spain -- to advertise from the arena.

Juan Belmonte, a bullfighting commentator for TV station Canal Sur in Seville, believes that the flare up over Ortega's Gay Up partnership -- the product name will be embroidered on his cape in large red letters -- has less to do with him promoting a gay drink and more with his advertising in the ring. "It is like prostituting the cape," Belmonte said.

In this market, it's either prostitute the cape or prostitute yourself, so we can't really blame the guy for being ingenious enough to use whatever real estate he has available to pull in a few extra dollars and -- with a mug and (presuambly) an ass like that -- certainly a few new fans.

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Noah Michelson