By now, many of you have probably heard about the controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the anti-LGBT laws and propaganda that have recently surfaced in Russia. You may have heard of the “DumpStoli campaign started by Dan Savage, encouraging bars to boycott Russian vodka in protest. Critics of the laws in Russia have even called for a boycott of the Olympic games themselves, with calls to the IOC to shut it down. After all, the Olympics are supposed to be about world unity, not about shameful discrimination. President Obama even stepped into the fray by cancelling a meeting with Vladimir Putin (although that was mostly due to Russia allowing Edward Snowden to leave the Moscow airport) and stating in a press conference yesterday that “nobody’s more offended than me by anti-gay legislation you’ve been seeing in Russia.”
You can read about my friend and fellow blogger BosGuy’s opinion on the Stoli boycott here, and more background on what’s going on in Russia here. Personally, I find the Stoli boycott a little misguided, considering that Stolichnaya has been an ardent supporter of the LGBT community (they aren’t dumb, they know the gays drink like fishes), and the Stoli that is sold in the US is actually produced in Latvia. The bottom line is, to quote Louis Peitzman from Buzzfeed, “we owe the LGBT community in Russia more than a frivolous conversation about which vodka to drink.”
So that begs the question, what are American corporations who sponsor the Olympics prepared to do? As someone posted on Twitter, perhaps if American corporations saw their icons associated with images like those below, they might change their tune. Many of these companies rank highly with the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Their continued participation with the Olympics, however, is in direct contrast to their support of LGBT rights.