Sochi Olympics Major Players Respond To Boycott Ideawordpress

While Vancouver enjoys Vancouver Pride Week and celebrates diversity with new rainbow crosswalks, calls for a boycott of the upcoming Sochi Olympics in Russia continue due to the country’s harsh anti-gay laws.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says that they have assurances from the highest levels of Russian government that the laws will not affect those attending or participating in the games.

However, Russia’s Sports Minister stated that the laws will be enforced during the games and even foreign athletes will be “held accountable” if they “propagandize” homosexuality while there.

NBC, who has the television rights to the games in America, has seen pressure from the Human Rights Campaign to at least acknowledge the laws during the opening ceremonies. NBC Sports Group responded by saying:

”We will address it [the laws] if it becomes an issue…If it is still their law and it is impacting any part of the Olympics Games, we will make sure that we acknowledge it and recognize it.”

It isn’t just the games themselves that are facing boycott calls. Several bars in Vancouver have stopped serving Russian vodka. Stoli Vodka has taken a firm stance against their home country’s laws with an open letter to the LGBT community:

“The recent dreadful actions taken by the Russian Government limiting the rights of the LGBT community and the passionate reaction of the community have prompted me to write this letter to you.

I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry.

Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community. We also thank the community for having adopted Stoli as their vodka of preference.”

Kudos to Stoli Vodka for taking a firm stance on one side of the fence. It can be argued that the IOC and NBC are riding the middle, which doesn’t appeal to those very upset at the moment.

As for a boycott? What are your thoughts? Several petitions can be found through the online petition site Change.org.