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"Not excessive" to compare Real Madrid players to hyenas

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that Catalan channel TV3 didn't go too far with a film depicting Madrid players as wild animals or serial killers in 2013.


Celta – Real Madrid live

Real Madrid claim rejected

The Spanish Supreme court has rejected a demand from Real Madrid for compensation of six million euros over a controversial video clip broadcast by Catalan regional broadcaster TV3 in 2013.

Real Madrid players depicted as hyenas

Pepe as Hannibal Lecter
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Pepe as Hannibal Lecter

The video spliced images of Real Madrid players (both current, such as Pepe, and former, such as Juanito), with National Geographic documentary footage showing hyenas hunting a gnu. It also included a scene showing Pepe depicted as Hannibal Lecter, from Silence of the Lambs.

TV3 Real Madrid video within the boundaries of free speech

Real Madrid players were compared to hyenas, like this little fellow.
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Real Madrid players were compared to hyenas, like this little fellow.

The Supreme Court ruled that the video didn't "exceed the limits" of what is permitted in "this type of sports programme". According to the judges the video was a critical, sarcastic and humouristic take on the rivalry between two teams [Real Madrid and Barcelona], and the controversy about the aggressiveness of Real Madrid's footballers. Overall the court held that the video didn't go too far, despite its "provocative nature".

TV3 apologised if anyone offended 

After the video was originally shown, in the light of the resulting outrage from Real Madrid and the club's fans, the presenter of the programme apologised "if anyone had been offended by the video".

Final ruling on Real Madrid hyena video

A lower court in Madrid originally held that three scenes from the video did constitute slander and were outside the acceptable boundaries of freedom of expression, and ruled that TV3 should pay damages of 20,000 euros. This ruling was rejected by the High Court, with the Supreme Court now confirming that no damages will be paid.


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