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boycott chick-fil-a

Boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympics and its Sponsors

Like many of you, I’m disgusted by the Russian law that prohibits discussing “non-traditional” sexual relationships in the presence of minors or suggesting that such relationships are equal to “traditional” ones. Russian officials claim the law is designed to protect minors.

Bullshit.

When laws are written to “protect the children” when their physical safety isn’t at risk, it’s the government’s way of trying to justify their closed-minded assholery.

Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge by Jon Curnow from Flickr (Creative Common License)

Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge by Jon Curnow from Flickr (Creative Common License)

This law pissed me off and I’m proud of anyone who is standing up against it. I was really pissed off this week when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) claimed that they have no grounds to challenge the Russian law and that they are satisfied with the situation as long as “the Olympic charter is respected.”

Let’s look at the Olympic charter. Page 11 contains the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism,” which include the following:

  • “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” and
  • “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

Tell me again how the Russian anti-LGBT law doesn’t violate these principles?

I can understand why the IOC doesn’t want to call off the games or try to move the venue but to say that there’s nothing they can do about the Russian law suggests that their scared of what will happen if they speak out against it. But by staying silent, they are condoning it. How can they claim to have fundamental principles in their charter if they won’t stand up for what they believe when they are challenged? And I understand why countries aren’t boycotting the games – I don’t think the athletes should be punished because the host country is run by bigots. If the athletes want to boycott the games, that’s their prerogative.

When the anti-LGBT law was passed, the boycott of Russian vodka started. I don’t drink, but I fully support this effort. When I heard that the IOC wouldn’t speak out against the law, I was angry and disappointed. My friend ask what I was going to do about it and I said I was going to boycott the games – and I love to watch the Olympics. She suggested that I boycott the Olympic sponsors too.

That makes perfect sense! They have money on the line and are expecting a good return on their investment. For people who feel strongly about this issue should put their money where their mouths are and not patronize the companies who are sponsoring the games – at least for the duration of the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics (February 7-23 and March 7-16, 2014). The 2014 games sponsors include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, and Proctor and Gamble. If you want to join the boycott, you may be paying cash for everything and you’ll have to read the labels of your personal and household products for that month.

I’m a huge fan of spending money with companies who represent your values. I don’t shop at Walmart because of the way they treat their employees; I don’t patronize Barilla because of their anti-gay stance; I won’t shop at any store during the holidays that has a Salvation Army bell ringer outside because they discriminate against the LGBT community; and even though Chick-fil-A doesn’t support anti-gay groups, I still can’t bring myself to go there.

One thing that will convince me not to boycott the Olympic sponsors is if the companies add pro-LGBT images (same-sex couples, rainbow flags, etc.) to their Olympic marketing materials. I understand why a company can’t back out now, but they would have an awesome effect if they said “fuck you” to the Russians and filled Sochi and the Olympic TV coverage with rainbows.