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What is this, North Korea!?! A weekend Olympic qualifying curling match between the United States and Japan didn’t air in the United States “due to an unforeseen sponsorship conflict” that many believe to be due to a Dutch sex toy company advertisement shown prominently on the feed from an arena in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
Curling organizers in the Netherlands told the Associated Press that an ad for EasyToys, which sells adult sex toys and uses the tagline “Better toys, greater joys,” made U.S. and Japanese broadcasters uncomfortable and ultimately led to the match between the two countries being pulled from television and streaming services.
In a sport where competitors scream “HARD” while fellow teammates sweep in front of a rock gliding down a sheet of ice, Easy Toys was just too much for the broadcasters.
“I’m not the right man to have an opinion what is normal in which country,” promoter Dagmar van Stiphout told the Associated Press. “I think they’re also surprised, but it’s best to ask them.”
“We have made clear agreements with the World Curling Federation (WCF)”, van Stiphout said during an interview with Netherlands media outlets. “They know who our partners are and we have permission for that. We have acted very carefully. Now we’ve found out that some broadcast partners think they can’t broadcast the matches. The WCF was also surprised by that.”
Easy Toys, which is a rather upscale sex toy company like something you’d see from Gwyneth Paltrow, had a hard time understanding what the issue was in the U.S.
“We are surprised,” a spokesperson said. “We are a neat company, and we think that curling is a great sport to which we like to associate our name. At the moment, we are waiting for the developments.”
On Monday, USA Curling announced that fans would have to watch matches through the World Curling site (which directs viewers to The Curling Channel) as the sex toy saga continued to play out.
Due to an unforeseen sponsorship conflict with the local organizing committee in Leeuwarden, the remainder of the Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Event's coverage will be available through the @worldcurling streaming platform, Recast.
— USA Curling (@usacurl) December 7, 2021
— USA Curling (@usacurl) December 5, 2021