Coke lies about Russians exempting Olympians from anti-gay law

Coca-Cola, a proud sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, either lied to Buzzfeed this week, or their spokeswoman, and their CEO, didn’t even bother to find out the truth about Russia’s draconian crackdown on gay and trans people in that country, before talking to the press.

Coke spokeswoman Kate Harman claimed, incredibly, that Russia has promised not to apply its anti-gay law to Olympic athletes, guests and media attending the Sochi Games.

That’s flat out untrue.

Coke lies about Russians exempting Olympians from anti-gay law

The most recent statement we’ve had from “the highest level of the government in Russia” is that the anti-“gay propaganda” law will apply to Olympic athletes, guests and media in Sochi.  This came from the Russian Interior Ministry – the folks responsible for arresting dissidents – a day before Coke claimed Sochi-attendees would be exempt from the law.

Coke might want to change that caption from "Proud Partner" to "Proud Just Friends."

Coke might want to change that caption from “Proud Partner” to “Proud Just Friends.”

You’ll note that in every statement the Russians make about the anti-gay law, they first claim the law won’t be used against Olympians, then add “unless Olympians violate it.”  That’s like saying we won’t throw you in a gulag, unless we do.

Coke either didn’t do its homework, or is outright attempting to deceive its customers and the LGBT community. Here’s what Coke incredibly claimed to Buzzfeed:

When asked about the risks the new law poses to LGBT Coca-Cola employees who travel to Russia for the Olympics, Hartman said that “the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the games.”

Check again.

Coke adds that it was a proud sponsor of Hitler’s Olympics

Coke’s Harman added that Coke was a proud sponsor of the Olympics sine 1928, meaning Coke was also a proud sponsor of Hitler’s Olympics in 1936 Berlin.

Then, even more disturbingly, Harman noted the “positive impact” and “long-lasting legacy” all the Olympics, including the Nazi Olympics, left on their host, including, per se, Hitler:

“As a sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host,” she added. [emphasis added]

Yes, the world remembers with a tear in its eye how things got so much better in Hitler’s Germany after 1936.

But let’s take Coke at its word.  Every host was left with a long-lasting legacy and positive impact from the Olympics.  So, what was the “positive impact” and “long-lasting legacy” that Coke thinks the Olympics left on Hitler?

Is Coke seriously now claiming that things would have been worse under Hitler from 1936 to the end of World War II had we not held the Olympics in Germany, and had Coke not been a proud sponsor of the Hitler Games?  How exactly could Hitler have been worse?  By banning American soft drinks at Dachau?

The Jesse Owens thing was nice, but for Coke to claim that Jesse Owens left a “positive impact” and a “long-lasting legacy” on Adolf Hitler is patently absurd.

Coke should tell us more about the “long-lasting legacy” of “positive impact” the 1936 Olympics had on Hitler

We saw what happened after 1936. Hitler invaded everyone and then put up to 20 million people to death.  The Soviets alone lost an additional 20 million+ in the battle against Hitler, not to mention the millions lost by the allies, Eastern Europe and more.

Tell us again about the “long-lasting” “positive impact” the Olympics had on Hitler, Coke.

Maybe Coke got its information about post-1936 Nazi Germany from the same person who told them the Russian anti-gay law was temporarily put on hold.

If I were an LGBT – or LGBT-friendly – Coke employee, I’d be hopping mad that my PR department just lied about the risks Coke’s staff face at the Sochi Olympics.

And here’s what’s worse.  If anyone attends the Sochi Olympics, especially a Coke employee, and now gets arrested under Russia’s anti-gay, they’ll have a detrimental reliance, and negligence, legal claim against Coke.

After all, Coca-Cola just told the world that Russia’s anti-gay law has been suspended – you can protest up a storm at Sochi, and no one will touch you!  So go to Sochi, protest your little heart out, and if anyone touches you, sue Coke’s ass off.

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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  • RepubAnon

    Personally, I think the Russians are in “Tea Party Mode”: they can easily use the state-run media to claim that the arrogant foreigners are trying to push Mother Russia around, just like Tea Partiers always claim to be the real victims whenever they can’t act out their evil fantasies.

  • jytaqetizah

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    The #1 reason not to drink it: It’s pure shit that serves no purpose other than to make you fat and give you diabetes.

  • B00ZED

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like us American queers live in utopia. I’m concerned that what strides we have made will go into reverse. I am simply appalled by the events in Russia and the attitudes of those who really could step up to the plate and help nullify their actions.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Work brings Cola!

  • AnitaMann

    Precisely. We all know they’re not going to arrest athletes. That would cause an international incident… on the teevee machine. That means lost $$$. I doubt if they’ll even arrest gay Russians during two weeks. We can easily predict that the government will make nice with everyone for the games only, for the cameras while the world watches, and then go back to oppression and murder after the torch goes out. This gives cover for the apologists to say, “see, you activists had no reason to protest anything.”

  • B00ZED

    It’s nothing like it used to be. There have been positive changes.

  • lynchie

    I don’t believe that for a second. With support from the IOC, from the U>S. Olympic committee and now from Coke with no outcry from a single government why are they in crisis mode. If they were frantically trying to walk the statements back I might agree. However each release of a statement seems almost measured to be more confrontational than the one previous I think they know the big money is behind them and they can raise the middle finger to the gay community and to anyone else who doesn’t like it.

  • fentwin

    I tried it on my monitor, yet Fausto’s greasy little comment is still there.

  • cole3244

    kate harman must be ingesting her coke through her nose.

  • I’d like to teach the world to hate
    In perfect goose step harmony
    I’d like to buy the world a Coke
    And keep up bigotry
    That’s the real thing.

  • HolyMoly

    Speaking of ginger ale, Buffalo Rock is by far the best. It’s a dark brown color and much tastier than your comparable Coke product. It’s Alabama-based, so you’d have to order it online and get it shipped to you, but well worth the hassle.

  • HolyMoly

    Used to drink RC growing up. It’s a Southern thing, I guess. If you enjoy preparing your own foods, you can always find syrup and mix it with carbonated water, or use regular water and brewer’s yeast. I’ve been wanting to make my own root beer for a while now, so I might give it a try. It’s wayyyy cheaper too. Maybe $5 will yield about 5 gallons of soda.

    There are also recipes out there for making ginger ale with fresh ginger. Same concept, but fresh ingredients (and sugar or the artificial sweetener of your choice…none of that high fructose corn crap) instead of ready-made syrup.

  • honey

    That makes a lot of sense. But I still think, behind the scenes, the Russian govt is probably in crisis mode, trying to prevent an Olympic disaster, business-wise. Talking out of both sides of their mouth. Coke may be listening out of both sides of its mouth?

  • PeteWa


  • I remember hearing for the first time when someone referred to Western PA (where I was born and grew up) as “Northern West Virginia.”

    There are good reasons why I left.

  • The anti-gay bigots in America are already cheering what’s been happening in Russia. Just the other day, Bryan Fischer used his radio show to applaud their actions.

  • Yeah, that’s my take on it, too.

    In 1936, another of the actions Hitler’s Nazis took — besides taking down the anti-Semitic posters and temporarily suspending publication of the most virulent of the anti-Jewish newspaper — was to round up hundreds of Romani and other “undesirables” in and around Berlin and park them in a temporary concentration camp just outside the city.

    So what if Russia says, “Yes, you foreigners can gay it up all you like in Sochi during the 2-week period of the games, but elsewhere and afterwards, nyet.” At that point, all they’re doing is making themselves equal to what the Nazis were doing, and that’s a damned low bar to meet in terms of human decency.

  • PeteWa

    what a tradition…

  • UncleBucky

    RC Cola. Just as good. Pepsi, not so much.

    Jarritos, all kinds of flavours with real cane sugar.

    No Coca-Cola.

  • HolyMoly

    If you go to the Coke site, and click on “Contact Us,” you will be directed to a “virtual agent.” Type in “Withdraw your sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics,” and they have a response ready and waiting for you. Something to the effect that they don’t take political positions that don’t affect their company. How they figure this won’t affect their business I don’t know. They’ve got a “Talk to The Hand” thing going on right now.

  • RepubAnon

    It sounds more like they they stopped listening after they heard what they wanted to hear. Consider the sentence: “”If a person does not put across his views in the presence of children, no measures against him can be taken,” Zhukov said.” That’s like saying “so long as you don’t try to date someone of another race, the laws against inter-racial dating will not apply to you.” It sounds as if the PR folks at Coke heard the “no measures against him will be taken” part and their fervent hope that the issue would go away edited out the part they didn’t want to hear.

  • emjayay

    First, of course PR person Harmon said something like this. She is paid $200 or $300 or $400K a year to come up with this stuff. Coke is a business. Its sole goal is to maximize profits. Just ask Adam Smith.

    Besides, obviously the real issue isn’t treatment of Olympic athletes or spectators. It’s treatment of gay people in a country which also wants to be a part of the Modern Nations of the World Club. It’s hardly the only issue keeping them outside the clubhouse door.

  • John Masters

    ” if anyone touches you, sue Coke’s ass off.” Uh, I’d sign a power of attorney with someone to do that for me, as I’d likely be in a Russian jail.

    Wait, maybe the PR person who wrote that would be willing to sign an agreement to serve my time for me. What do you think John?

  • Here’s some light reading for you for your trip back to Zandalar troll….

  • honey

    Isn’t it possible that Coke is getting such assurances from high levels of the Russian government? Whether or not their intentions are honest, I imagine the Russian government does not want Coke pulling its sponsorship right now and would say what it needs to say to keep it.

  • fritzrth

    Eh! Paisan! Come stai?

  • nicho

    And it will get blood stains out of the trunk of your car. Don’t ask me how I know.

  • fritzrth

    That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? The law is new; the treatment of their GLBT community, among others, is not.

  • nicho

    I don’t care if they exempt the athletes or not. What’s the point in having athletes living in a protected bubble in the Olympic Village, while spectators are subject to the law — and Russian gays are being beaten, tortured, and murdered a few miles away?

  • fritzrth

    Same here in South Georgia. Even in a University town. B-)

  • PeteWa

    ‘Have a Coke and a Swastika’
    ‘Have a Coke and wear your Pink Triangle’

  • lynchie

    Great for cleaning sink stains.

  • lynchie

    Troll face be gone.

  • lynchie

    Well here in Western Pa. it is 1950 and they never let you forget they have no place for liberals or minorities or women who want some equality and as for the gay community the word gay sends them howling to the hills looking for their rifles.

  • fritzrth

    And is a quick way to clean corrosion off battery terminals.

  • fritzrth

    Some people here forget that it’s still 1950 in most of the United States.

  • Fausto Fernandez

    You know shit about Medicine and Biochemistry

  • fritzrth

    That’s flat out untrue.

    You’re always so diplomatic, John! B-)

    That’s a bald-faced lie!

  • Bob

    I’ve heard however that it does get grease and oil off the garage floor though

  • The #1 reason not to drink it: It’s pure shit that serves no purpose other than to make you fat and give you diabetes.

  • lynchie

    Rekindle hate in America? Did you for some reason think it had gone away? Because you can legally get married and enjoy the benefits doesn’t mean acceptance. The racist remarks are still there in the news on a daily basis, the demeaning of women is still there, attacks on the poor and elderly are still there. I think when the gay community took this small victory from the Supreme Court there was a sense that the battle was over. Hatred, bigotry and the like are still in the hearts of the people who want to hate. Sanitarium hasn’t changed at all and never will and given a willing media and government would be back full force if encouraged like the laws in Russia allow.

  • Fortunately, I gave up drinking Coca Cola back when Jimmy Carter was president. In fact, I gave up soda altogether. In the early 1960’s, I used to drink Squirt.

  • B00ZED

    I’m beginning to feel the hate exuded by the Russians is going to result in a rekindling of hate for gays in America.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Yet another reason to not drink Coke products.

    If you still do after this, just remember that in addition you are supporting their death squads in Central and South America, and destroying your health by drinking soft drinks.

    Their anti-union and anti-worker tactics have led to death after death in the third world.

    New studies linking soft drinks to the wave of obesity:

    Info on Cokes anti-worker wars:

    The Polar Bear is cute, but since the corporations like Coke are killing his species off, I really wish he would resign from their ads.

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