TOKYO (AFP) – Ads for a sex toy company plastered on the ice during qualifying for the Beijing Olympics curling competition prompted the Japanese national broadcaster to take the matches off the air.
NHK had planned to broadcast all matches of the Japanese mixed doubles team at the qualifying tournament in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
But a red ad on the ice for Dutch sex toy company EasyToys prompted a hasty rethink, with NHK ending Japan’s opener against the United States on Sunday (December 5).
The broadcasts of the following matches, notably against Latvia and Estonia, were also canceled, as well as the clash scheduled for Tuesday with New Zealand.
NHK told AFP the decision was made to allow time to determine whether the release of the EasyToys logo violated its release guidelines.
“The guidelines call for caution on content that could have an effect on minors and there was a risk that it would violate good taste,” said an NHK spokesperson.
NHK said it had not yet decided whether to broadcast Japan’s final round robin game, against Finland on Wednesday.
He said he was “reaching out to the World Curling Federation to come to a situation where we can broadcast as soon as possible.”
Japan have won one and lost three of their matches so far.