Ads for a sex toy website featured at a Winter Olympics curling qualifying tournament will be removed from the ice after causing a power outage in the United States.
Erotic website EasyToys and the World Curling Federation (WCF) said on Friday they had reached an agreement to resume live streaming in the United States and Japan, with the ads replaced with the “#equalityforall” statement. Broadcasters in both countries had decided that the references to the company were too daring for the intended audience.
“In an Olympic qualifying tournament, of course, it has to be the sport and not the sponsor,” Eric Idema, CEO of EasyToys’ parent company, EDC, said in a statement. “Curling deserves it too, as a sport that is one of the few mixed sports that is way ahead of its time. In fact, just like us.
The tournament started on Sunday with mixed doubles, but US fans were unable to watch their local live broadcast due to what WCF called “a permanent sponsor rights issue.” An international live broadcast was always available, where viewers could see an EasyToys “safe for work” logo on the ice and around the rink.
The company’s name was also inscribed in the hog line, which determines where curlers should drop the stone. When the event resumes on Sunday, the “almost all” logos will be removed with the hashtag on the ice instead – although the hog lines will remain “EasyToys pink”.
“We hoped that our visibility would help to break the taboo that still rests in many countries both on sexuality and on our industry,” Idema said. “It is unfortunate that adjustments are now needed to make the sport accessible to fans.”
The event in Leeuwarden, around 90 minutes north of Amsterdam, is a last chance to qualify for the 2022 Games. Two teams in mixed doubles and three each in men’s and women’s doubles can claim the last remaining places in Beijing. The American pair of Chris Plys and Vicky Persinger qualified in mixed doubles.
“EasyToys and the World Curling Federation have entered into a good faith sponsorship contract for this event, based on the shared values of equality and respect for all,” WCF said in a statement.
“Legal guidelines, as well as social norms that influence broadcast policies, have proven to be a complicated obstacle to the presentation of this championship. This step was taken to avoid any further distraction for our athletes as they seek to fulfill their dreams of reaching the pinnacle of our sport. “