A COMEDIAN has been accused of insulting Spain after featuring in a television sketch in which he sneezes and blows his nose on the country’s flag.
Businesses who work Dani Mateo have cut or have threatened to end commercial ties with Dani Mateo since the sketch was broadcast last week. It featured on La Sexta’s El Intermedio tongue-in-cheek news programme.
People took to social media to support and condemn Mateo. Some claimed the sketch was an insult while others said it should not have been taken seriously.
Mateo said his intention was to mock how seriously people took flags and other symbols of national identity but added he did not want to insult anybody.
“When tempers are very hot, flags become more important than people and that is dangerous,” he said.
The sketch begins with Mateo sitting at a desk next to the flag while the Spanish national anthem plays.
Mateo starts to deliver a mock speech in homage to Frenadol, a cough medicine, before sneezing and blowing his nose on the flag.
At least five companies said they would or were considering walking away from advertising deals with El Intermedio after the sketch. There have also been calls to boycott La Sexta.
Social media was filled with post supporting and condemning the comedian.
Twitter user Jack Crouch said: “It doesn’t matter your ideology or your thoughts- What Dani Maeto has done is to belittle a flag that millions of Spaniards consider theirs.”
Pablo Iglesias, leader of the leftist Podemos party, said outrage over the sketch had overshadowed other issues including the halting of compensation from a bank to its customers.