Olympic sponsors may face more pressure as campaign against Russia’s anti-gay law persists
The four-month campaign protesting Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda” is entering a new phase, as human rights activists try to heighten pressure on the Olympics’ top corporate sponsors to speak out before the Winter Games in Sochi. The Worldwide Olympic Partners — among them Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa — have thus far sidestepped requests to explicitly condemn the law, rebuffing efforts that included behind-the-scenes meetings and correspondence with Human Rights Watch. Now, that organization and some of its allies have decided to go public with their dissatisfaction. “It’s taken months for the sponsors to formulate lawyerly responses that say nothing,” said Minky Worden...Human Rights Watch...The focus of the protests is a law...[that] bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes fines for providing information about the gay community to minors...Both Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Campaign have written to all of the Worldwide Olympics Partners, urging the corporations to call for repeal of the Russian law. To date...none of the companies has taken that step...There are 10 Worldwide Partners in all — including General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and...Atos.