Andre Banks | News | Olympics | Russia | Sochi Olympics

IOC Receives 320,000 Signatures Demanding Action on Russia Anti-Gay Laws: VIDEO

Banks

AllOut Executive Director Andre Banks appeared on CNN yesterday after the group delivered more than 320,000 petitions to the International Olympic Committee at a meeting during which senior IOC staff said it would pursue a written (rather than verbal) commitment from the Russian government that athletes and visitors to Sochi would not be persecuted under anti-gay laws. The petitions contained signatures from AllOut as well as Athlete Ally members, and statements from former Olympians, as well as a letter from British actor Stephen Fry.

Still, Banks asserts that is only a first step:

"We know that this is not far enough. We can't just have assurances for the two weeks of the Olympics and then walk away knowing that one of the worst laws in the world is still on the books in Russia...Holding these Olympics in Sochi, this year, under these laws, is like hosting an Olympic Games in Johannesburg at the height of Apartheid. It simply cannot stand without a major debate...The conversation about the Olympics is about the anti-gay hate laws and it's going to stay that way. We would love for that to change but it's only going to happen when President Putin takes the right steps and repeals these laws as fast as his government passed them."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Boycott the Olympics and their Advertisers until there is change.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 8, 2013 8:12:34 AM


  2. I think the Games should go ahead in Sochi.

    But I think that Russia should be suspended from participating immediately, and not be allowed to participate until this fascist law is repealed.

    That would be such a fantastic way to both humiliate the Putin dictatorship while keeping the eyes of the world on the oppressive regime there.

    Posted by: MaryM | Aug 8, 2013 8:18:08 AM


  3. boycott will not happen, but look hard at george takei's well thought out and researched bid to move the olympic games to vancouver, a city which has signaled its readiness to accommodate the games again.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Aug 8, 2013 8:20:00 AM


  4. If ALL of the athletes would band together and hold up small rainbow flags as they march through the opening and closing ceremonies...

    What could they do?

    Arrest all of the athletes?

    No, they're not going to do that.... and it would run their noses in their stupid hate laws.

    Posted by: johnny | Aug 8, 2013 8:44:07 AM


  5. The IOC bigots do not like gays.

    The IOC took legal action to stop gays from conducting "Gay Olympics." That is why they are called the "Gay Games," and not the "Gay Olympics."

    It's okay to have a "special" olymics, but certainly not a "gay" olympics. The IOC did not want gay and olympics used in the same breath.

    Surely, some Towleroad readers recall that we were told to cut up our VISA cards because VISA was a sponsor of the Olympics.

    Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.

    Posted by: Anon | Aug 8, 2013 8:59:46 AM


  6. The IOC are also fairly well bought at this point.

    Posted by: Polyboy | Aug 8, 2013 9:37:44 AM


  7. The Olympic games of 1936 went ahead as planned in Germany, three years after Hitler began his reign of terror. The same arguments being given today as to why it's "too late" to pull out of Russia were given then. Athletes competed while people were being tortured and killed in the camps. We must not be complacent. We must collectively take the Russian government to task. We must not be silent.

    Posted by: Gigi | Aug 8, 2013 9:37:45 AM


  8. 1980: The US led a boycott of the Moscow Games in protest of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

    Oh the irony of that!

    Posted by: QJ201 | Aug 8, 2013 9:39:20 AM


  9. The IOC goes after any organization trying to using the term "olympics" for their competition. This is not a specifically anti-gay agenda. When I was a kid, I participated in a student competition that was called Olympics of the Mind, which was a sort of science/artistic competition designed for high school groups. The IOC went after them and I believe this organization is now called Odyssey of the Mind.

    Posted by: Jere | Aug 8, 2013 9:45:35 AM


  10. Russia is going all out on these games. They are spending huge amounts of money on the facilities, etc to make the impression that russia has it together and can compete on the world stage.

    Putin is a egomaniac (much like Bush/ Cheney and the Republicans were here with the lead up to the Iraq war). His ties with the Orthodox Church (insert Catholic Church here, Conservatives, Tea Party, "protect the children", etc..) doesn't think this issue about LBGT protection is a big deal. They will sign a paper, but so what? They will not change the law. They will do what they want.

    What will make a difference is international shame and ridicule along with immense financial pressure, (by not attending or participating) and shifting the outrage on the advertisers. Insist that they address this issue directly and pull out. If they don't they are "quietly" supporting this insane law, which directly affects there "brand". Travel companies, and supporting hotels should also be included.

    If dollars (attendance and advertising) are the power, change will only start there.

    Putin has a lot at stake with the Russian people to make sure these games are a financial success. He has defended this issue many times in the lead up to the games. If he is pushed he will say or do anything to "assure" the IOC and the west that it's not a problem. Do not be fooled. Nothing all change on the ground.

    It is now time for other nation leaders (England, France, Australia, among others) and ALL celebrities to speak out.

    Stop buying anything Russian or promoting Russian.

    Putin is a bully. He wants you to think he's tough, but just like any bully he only goes after the defenseless. Speak up and Shout back.

    Shame on him, including the russian govt. as well as the IOC for this absolute mess.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 8, 2013 10:24:45 AM


  11. Vancouver 2014

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Aug 8, 2013 11:31:47 AM


  12. Putin wouldn't even bat an eye if it were 32 million signatures. If he would, Russia would be a much better country.

    Posted by: gayalltheway | Aug 8, 2013 1:29:12 PM


  13. Sorry. Gays will not stop the Russian Olympics. People do not care enough about gay people, despite their tantrums. Gays love to hate something. In this case "Daddy" Russia. Your theories and plans are hot air. Russia is a foreign country, as we are to them.

    Posted by: 2014 | Aug 8, 2013 3:15:08 PM


  14. @Gigi: There are serious historical inaccuracies with the comment "The Olympic games of 1936 went ahead as planned in Germany, three years after Hitler began his reign of terror. ... Athletes competed while people were being tortured and killed in the camps."

    Hitler's "reign of terror" (the real Reign of Terror was in France after the French Revolution) did not start with the Nazi party winning an election. They took some time before tightening the screws as they needed to take care of any potentially effective opposition first. While Dachau opened immediately, its first prisoners were communists, members of various left-wing parties, and generally people who had been convicted by a court. Later others were imprisoned as well (including Jews, homosexuals, anti-nazi clergy, gypsies, and generally anyone critical of the regime).

    The death camps didn't begin operating until 1941, although they sent packs of killers called Einsatzgruppen (roughly "task force" in a proper English translation) to kill "undesirables", particularly during their invasion of Russia where the Einsatzgruppen killed something like 1.5 million Jews.

    It's worth noting that a lot of the terminology they used sounded a lot more innocuous in German than it does in English (our side wasn't above using propaganda to help build support for the war, with the result that the English rendering of some of these terms doesn't convey the insidious way the Nazis made use of euphemisms.)

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 8, 2013 8:52:57 PM


  15. Bill: Another Nazi jerk off.

    Posted by: Jay | Aug 8, 2013 10:07:18 PM


  16. Bill: Another guy who knows something about German history. Kristallnacht for example wasn't until the end of 1938. Not that it wasn't obvious what was going on earlier. It just wasn't really rolling big time yet. Like all history it's a complicated story. Not that that exonerates anyone or minimizes the horror and insanity.

    Posted by: emjayay | Aug 9, 2013 12:31:21 AM


  17. In a curious development, Trip Advisor is disabling the accounts of members who have the courage to post comments decrying the treatment of gays in Russia in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics... So much for "free and unbiased reviews"...

    Posted by: talibaptist | Aug 9, 2013 9:23:21 AM


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