Glance: Olympic Sponsors on Russia’s Anti-Gay Law
AP) - Protesters in cities around the world have called on major sponsors of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to speak out against Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities. Led off by a blog post from AT&T on Tuesday, a total of three sponsors of the U.S. Olympic team have openly condemned the law so far, but leading global sponsors have not joined them.
A look at responses from many of the top sponsors of the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee:
- McDonald’s Corp. (IOC sponsor): "McDonald’s stands for inclusion and we welcome, respect and value the diversity, culture and unique differences of our 69 million customers and approximately two million employees of company-owned and independently owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants worldwide," said McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary in an emailed statement. "We support the spirit of the Olympic Games and its ability to unite the world in a positive and inspirational way. We’ve been a proud sponsor of the Games for 38 years. We are aware that some activists are targeting Olympic sponsors to voice their concerns regarding the Russian LGBT legislation. McDonald’s supports human rights, the spirit of the Olympics and all the athletes who’ve worked so hard to compete in the Games. We believe the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes."
- General Electric Co. (IOC sponsor): Declined to comment.
- Dow Chemical Co. (IOC sponsor): "We are engaged with the IOC on this important topic and support its recent statement that sport is a human right and the Games should be open to all," Louise Adhikari, a Dow spokeswoman, said in a statement.
- Coca-Cola Co. (IOC sponsor): "As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world. As an Olympic 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. We support the core values of the Olympic Movement - excellence, friendship and respect - and are proud to continue our role in helping to make the Olympics a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world. We are engaging with the International Olympic Committee on this important matter. We believe a more positive impact can be made through continued involvement, rather than by sitting on the sidelines."
- Visa Inc. (IOC sponsor): "As an Olympic sponsor, we believe in the spirit of the Games and their unique ability to engage the world in a way that is positive and inspirational. The Olympic Games provide the world with an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the athletes that have worked so hard to attend the games. Visa believes the Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course, athletes. Visa is aware that groups and individuals are reaching out to Olympic sponsors to voice their concerns regarding human rights. As a company and as a brand, Visa stands for inclusivity and celebrates diversity. Visa does not condone discrimination of any kind in our policies and business practices."
- AT&T Inc. (USOC sponsor): "The Olympic Games in Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that’s important to all Americans: equality. As you may know, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community around the world is protesting a Russian anti-LGBT law that bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations." To raise awareness of the issue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC +0.91%, news) has called on International Olympic Committee (IOC -2.36%, news) sponsors to take action and stand up for LGBT equality. AT&T is not an IOC sponsor, so we did not receive the HRC request. However, we are a long-standing sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), we support HRC’s principles and we stand against Russia’s anti-LGBT law. AT&T has a long and proud history of support for the LGBT community in the United States and everywhere around the world where we do business. We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society. We celebrate the diversity of all Olympic athletes, their fans, Russian residents and all people the world over - including and, especially, our employees and their loved ones. As the games begin, we’re here to support and inspire American athletes who’ve worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams. We also want to be on record with our support for the LGBT community, and we hope that others involved with the Olympic Games will do the same."