world cup 2022

Here's why a Toronto bar isn't showing the FIFA 2022 World Cup on TV

While there are many Toronto bars that are going to be airing the FIFA 2022 World Cup games on TV, one spot has taken a stand to say why they won't be doing that.

Otto's Bierhalle is a West Queen West European-style beer bar that wasn't afraid to make a social media post addressing what has been a notoriously controversial sporting event, linking to a report by Human Rights Watch.

This is the first year World Cup is in a Middle Eastern and Muslim country, but Qatar has come under fire for its treatment of women and the LGBTQ+ community among other issues.

"Otto's Bierhalle supports the LGBTQ+ community, women, and the rights of workers. We stand against discrimination of any kind," reads a social media post from Otto's. "For this reason, we have decided not to show the games being played in Qatar this year."

The post goes on to say they've been fundraising for Rainbow Railroad since June and will continue to donate 50 cents per can from the sale of their Queer Bier.

"We've been getting asked for weeks what games we'll be playing. We wanted to provide a statement for anyone wondering why they wouldn't be able to join us for games during this tournament, but assure them that we look forward to welcoming them back for games in the future," Otto's director of operations Chelsea Lawrence tells blogTO.

"Bars are natural venues for these sorts of events and gain from the energy and enthusiasm the patrons bring. They don't have much say in the decisions that are made by high-level officials. I think it's necessary to do the research and address the concerns of impacted groups especially if your business stands to benefit financially."

Lawrence says she also admires the way Peaches Sports Bar in Parkdale addressed the situation. They'll be airing games, but will be donating a portion of their proceeds during the World Cup to an organization that protects members of the queer community in Qatar.

"It's been mostly positive reactions. We are used to attracting mixed feedback on this kind of post," says Lawrence. "Patrons can be disappointed they won't be able to enjoy the game even though most of them understand why."

When asked how Otto's will continue to make decisions on what kind of events they'll show in the future, Lawrence says, "We will listen to our staff and guests when they raise concerns and do our research."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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