LGBT Groups Demand Coca-Cola End Sponsorship of Olympic Games in Russia
LGBT Groups Demand that Coca-Cola End Sponsorship
of Olympic Games in Russia
New York, NY (August 27, 2013) — LGBT groups and supporters will stage a demonstration in Times Square on August 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM (noon) EDT (at West 46th Street and Broadway) to protest The Coca-Cola Company’s sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Gay groups charge the beverage giant of sponsoring hate and will dump Coke into the street and will crush Coke cans to protest of the company’s continuing silence on Russia’s anti-LGBT law and to demand that it immediately withdraw its corporate sponsorship of the Games. Protestors will use the hashtag #DumpCoke on all social media channels.
“By sponsoring the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Coca-Cola is associating its brands with state-sanctioned gay-bashing,” said Queer Nation co-founder Alan Klein. “Coca-Cola is sacrificing the safety and security of Russian LGBT people for profit – a position that opposes fundamental Olympic principles, runs counter to the International Olympic Committee charter, and that will tarnish its global image for decades to come.”
In June, the Russian government enacted its “anti-gay propaganda” law that bans any pro-LGBT statement or demonstration in public or private and on the Internet. The law makes being openly LGBT or being supportive of LGBT people a crime and caused a sharp rise in hate crimes in Russia. Brutal beatings of people perceived as gay have been widely reported as well.
Foreign nationals, including Olympic athletes and spectators, charged under the “anti-gay propaganda” law are subject to arrest, 15 days in jail, fines, and deportation. Russian authorities have already arrested and fined both citizens and visitors. Worldwide protests and boycotts of Russian products and of the Games were launched in response.
“Nations compete for the privilege of hosting the Games and Russia has squandered that privilege by targeting LGBT Russians for discrimination and violence,” said RUSA LGBT founder and co-president Yelena Goltsman, “With its sponsorship of the Games, Coca-Cola supports the Russian government’s LGBT discrimination.”
Queer Nation’s Klein added, “Sponsoring the Games gives legitimacy to the host nation and that is exactly what Coca-Cola did when it sponsored the 1936 Games in Nazi Germany. We hope that Coca-Cola does not ignore its own history and does the right thing by refusing to support another regime that targets groups for hatred.”
In addition to ending Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Games, LGBT groups demand that Coca-Cola implement the same employment non-discrimination policies and benefits packages that protect LGBT workers in the United States, in Russia. Activists further demand that Coca-Cola publish these policies not only in English, but also in Russian, and in the native languages of every country in which the company operates.
LGBT groups are issuing the following Statement of Demands to The Coca-Cola Company:
- Withdraw its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Games in Russia.
- Release a statement in English and Russian that condemns workplace discrimination, harassment, and bullying directed at customers and employees based on gender identity and sexual orientation
- Publish and publicize its LGBT employment policies on its Russian website in Russian and on physical bulletin boards and websites at all Coca-Cola owned and operated facilities.
- Conduct periodic company-wide sensitivity trainings about its LGBT employment policies worldwide.
- Institute a long-range policy to widely distribute its LGBT employment policies in human resources documentation and internal communications at all owned and operated facilities worldwide.
- Require that all Coca-Cola bottlers, distributors and vendors implement LGBT employment policies as a condition of their contract with The Coca-Cola Company.
RUSA LGBT is a Russian-Speaking American LGBTQ association formed in 2008 to establish a network for those who identify with Russian-speaking and LGBTQ cultures. RUSA LGBT fights for social justice, human and civil rights for LGBTQ people in the United States and in the former Soviet Union. Website: www.rusalgbt.com Twitter: @RUSALGBT. Facebook.com/RUSA.LGBT.
Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. Website: www.queernationny.org.Twitter: @QueerNationNY. Facebook.com/qn.newyork.