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News agency sorry for calling Spanish PM 'gay'

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News agency sorry for calling Spanish PM 'gay'
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP
14:10 CEST+02:00
A top Spanish news agency has apologized after accidentally using a hashtag containing a colloquial term for homosexual in a tweet about Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The subject of the tweet from Spanish news agency Efe could hardly have been more serious.

The brief message carried the news that the Spanish prime minister — currently drumming up business in China — had sent his condolences to French President Francois Hollande after jihadists beheaded Frenchman Herve Gourdel in Algeria.

But Efe raised more than a few eyebrows with its choice of hashtag when referred to the Spanish leader.

Instead of tweeting #MarianoRajoy, the message read #MarianoMariquita. While the word mariquita literally means ladybird, it can also be used as a mildly offensive slang word for homosexuals, translating roughly as 'fairy' or 'poof'.

Efe was quick to apologize to its followers and to the prime minister for the mistake, saying predictive text had to been to blame for the unfortunate mistake.

A message then appeared on Mariano Rajoy's Twitter account not long afterwards, thanking Efe for the explanation and the apology and praising the agency for its professionalism.

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