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Chile: Lawmaker’s Inflatable Sex Doll Gift Sparks Outrage

Image:ProChile Director Roberto Paiva, from left to right, Chilean Sen. and ruling party presidential hopeful Alejandro Guillier, former OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza, Chile's Economy Minister Luis Cespedes, Ministry of Planning Executive Secr
ProChile Director Roberto Paiva, from left to right, Chilean Sen. and ruling party presidential hopeful Alejandro Guillier, former OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza, Chile's Economy Minister Luis Cespedes, Ministry of Planning Executive Secretary Eduardo Britan, Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo and Asimet President Juan Carlos Martinez, pose for a photo with a gift of an inflated sex toy, a placard taped over its mouth that reads in Spanish: "To stimulate the economy", during the Asexma exporters' association annual dinner, in Santiago, Chile, in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Dec. 13, 2016. Jorge Cadenas / AP

A Chilean businessman might have found it amusing to publicly give a lawmaker a sex doll, but Chile's citizens and its female president did not agree.

Chileans are in an uproar after photos surfaced of Economy Minister Luis Cespedes posing with a blow-up sex doll. The doll, which had a note taped over its mouth that said it was "to stimulate the economy," was a gift to Céspedes from Roberto Fantuzzi, head of the Chilean exporters association Asexma, at its year-end dinner.

The largely male politicians and business leaders present, including former Organization of American States leader Jose Miguel Insulza, laughed as a smiling Cespedes posed with the naked female doll on his arm.

The furor erupted after photos of circulated on social media.

Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet weighed in on Twitter, calling the joke gift misogynist and an affront to her government's goal of promoting respect for women.

"The fight for the respect toward women has been an essential principal in my two terms," she tweeted. "What happened at the Asexma dinner cannot me tolerated."

In Chile, it is a tradition for the leader of Asexma to give creative gifts to guests at its annual dinner, but some attendees scrambled to distance themselves from the gift after social media exploded with charges of sexism. They said Fantuzzi went too far.

ONU Mujeres Chile, the United Nations agency for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, tweeted about the event saying, "The economy is stimulated when we incorporate women in the decisions and the productivity in the country, not with sexist gifts."

"One laughs because one is in awkward situation, but we are all aware that it was a blunder that we are sorry for," said Alejandro Guiller, a dinner attendee who may run for president in 2017 for the governing party.

Cespedes said he was sorry Wednesday, and Insulza "lamented and rejected" what had happened at the dinner.

"I think that beyond asking for forgiveness, this demonstrates that in Chile there is still machismo, sexism and in some cases even misogyny," Bachelet tweeted.

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