In a message accompanying the insulting gesture Miguel Abellan, 37, a bullfighter from Madrid wrote: “For you and all those who like you voicing a lack of respect for my profession, I only have this to say.”
He posted the message on Twitter in response to anti-bullfighting tweets made by Catalan Moto GP racer Aleix Espargaró as a national debate on bullfighting raged in the wake of the fatal goring of a matador last weekend.
Victor Barrio was killed during a bullfight in Teruel and his death has highlighted the divisions between those who support the Spanish tradition and a growing number of people who are vehemently against the ‘cruel spectacle’.
Police have said they will investigate those who posted messages celebrating the death of the matador as a ‘hate crime’.
Although 26-year-old Espargaró was not among them, he had tweeted that he had “no respect for those barbarians who kill for fun”.
In other tweets he branded matadors "cowards" and criticized those “who kill a living being for fun, who enjoy it and who are happy to torture a poor animal”.
No lo es! Jamas! Matais a seres vivos por diversion, os divierte y hace felices ver agonizar a un pobre animal! https://t.co/f8cmm2mgo1— Aleix Espargaró (@AleixEspargaro) July 13, 2016
Abellan's tweet quickly went viral, becoming a trending topic on twitter, and encouraging others to post photographs of themselves make the rude gesture in solidarity.