Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials

From NYTimes: (...)"Just as Russia now prohibits “propaganda” in support of “nontraditional” sexual orientation, the Olympic charter prohibits athletes from making political gestures during the Winter and Summer Games.

"So it is entirely possible that any bobsledder or skier wearing a pin, patch or T-shirt in support of gay rights could be sent home from Sochi, not by Russian authorities, but by another group that suppresses expression: the International Olympic Committee.

"Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself? Perhaps not. But Olympic officials worldwide, including those in the United States, along with NBC and corporate sponsors, have put themselves and athletes in an awkward position by only tepidly opposing the Russian law that bans “homosexual propaganda.”

"Blake Skjellerup, a short-track speedskater from New Zealand, has said he plans to wear a gay-pride pin in Sochi; if he gets into trouble, “so be it.” Harvey Fierstein, the playwright and actor, has called for a boycott of the Winter Games. Gay rights activists in New York and elsewhere have urged the removal of Russian vodka from bars.

"Olympic sponsors like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s also have been publicly muted. In effect, they are underwriting the Games in Sochi that contradict their own corporate policies against discrimination.

"Perhaps the strongest statement came several days ago from Richard Carrion, an I.O.C. delegate from Puerto Rico who is trying to succeed Rogge as president. In the future, Carrion said, nondiscrimination should be a condition for hosting the Olympic Games.

"But that will be too late for Sochi." Read the article: Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials - By JERÉ LONGMAN, August 6, 2013 The New York Times

Related article: From ibtimes: "Actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein stirred the pot with a now-viral July 21 op-ed in the New York Times claiming Putin had “declared war on homosexuals” and that “the world has mostly been silent.” “Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or ‘pro-gay’ and detain them for up to 14 days,” he wrote. “Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay --or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay --can go to jail.”" Boycott The Olympics? Sochi 2014 Becomes Unlikely Platform for Gay Rights Debate by Mark Johanson, July 26, 2013 International Business Times