Coke, Visa, McDonald’s blasted for sponsoring “officially anti-gay Olympics”

Quite a powerful editorial from Bloomberg, castigating the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for giving the patina of Olympic approval to Russia’s draconian anti-gay law.

But Bloomberg doesn’t stop there – they implicate some of the top Olympic sponsors in the anti-gay cover-up, including Coke, Visa and McDonald’s.  According to Bloomberg, these are now an “officially anti-gay Olympics,” and any company sponsoring the Olympics is sponsoring anti-gay hate.

We now have our hook for taking down Coke, Visa and McDonald’s.

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As Bloomberg explains, it’s bad enough that Russia has enacted a law basically making it illegal to be out of the closet.  But then Russia decided the law was going to apply to gay (and gay-friendly) Olympians during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next February.

Not only is being out of the closet illegal, but a straight person saying or doing anything that suggests that being out of the closet is okay, is now illegal as well.

But did Putin stop there?  Nope.

As of this past Friday, it is now a violation of Russian anti-terrorism laws to stage any kind of pro-gay protest, or even to simply hold a pro-gay meeting, in the Olympic town of Sochi.  That may likely mean that New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who has vowed to wear a rainbow pin during his Olympic competition, will be committing an act of terrorism by simply being proud of who he is.

Oh but it gets better.  As Bloomberg notes, the IOC has now puts its imprimatur on Russia’s anti-terrorist version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” suggesting, incredibly, that laws banning any positive mention of the word “gay” are non-discriminatory so long as the bigoted law is applied equally against gay and straight Olympic athletes.

Get it?  Russia is indiscriminate in applying its discriminatory law, so according to the IOC it’s not really discrimination.

Enough is enough.  I have to admit I was somewhat ambivalent about going after the Olympic sponsors as, to date, I hadn’t felt there was enough of a direct connection between the Olympics themselves and Russia’s horrific threats against those attending the Sochi games.  Last Friday, that all changed.

Coke, Visa and McDonald’s are now complicit in Russia’s de facto declaration that gay and lesbian Olympians are terrorists.  Thanks to the IOC, this is no longer Vladimir Putin’s war against the human rights of gay and trans people.  It is now the International Olympic Committee’s, as well as any company that sponsors this hate.

Do Coke, Visa and McDonald’s agree that, so long as Russia’s anti-gay laws apply to straight Olympians as well, the laws aren’t discriminatory?  If those sponsors agree, then you should never touch a Coke, use your Visa, or visit McDonald’s again.  And if they don’t agree, then why are they sponsoring an event that does?

That’s what Queer Nation will be asking in NYC this Wednesday, when they launch the first of many protests against the sponsors of Olympic homophobia, starting with Coke.

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More from Bloomberg:

Now, the IOC should be telling Russia to revoke its anti-gay law in order to conform with the Olympic Charter and remain the host of the Winter Games. As the committee has so far shown no such inclination, sponsors of the Olympics and television networks that plan to cover the event ought to push. Otherwise, come February, they may find themselves in an embarrassing mess.

The Russians already have used their new law to deport Dutch filmmakers for trying to make a documentary about gay rights in Russia. If openly gay New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup talks about a boyfriend in an interview with NBC, will that crew be deported as well? To avoid the risk, will broadcasters evade the whole subject of homosexuality? That would make them complicit in Russia’s discriminatory policies.

Unless the IOC acts, sponsors such as Coca-Cola Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Visa Inc. will be tied to an officially anti-gay Olympics.

Coke, Visa, and McDonald’s – j’accuse.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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