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McDonald's Offers a Taste of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi: VIDEO


I'd expect more Sochi 2014 sponsors to be targeted with items like this, sent in by Towleroad reader Robert-John. If you missed the background on its content, click here.


Today, the International Olympic Committee will receive more than 300,000 signatures urging it to denounce Russia's anti-gay laws. 83 members of Congress this week called on John Kerry to clarify the U.S. State Department's position on the controversy.

Russian officials have issued conflicting statements about whether athletes and visitors to the Olympics will be prosecuted under the anti-gay laws. Thus far, the IOC has said it is standing by assurances from the Russian government that the laws will not apply to Sochi visitors, which does nothing to change the fact of their existence and the human rights abuses being inflicted upon LGBT people there on a daily basis.

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  1. Brilliant. Maybe we need to mount a contest to see who can do the best job of linking corporate sponsor brands to the atrocities.

    Looking forward to many more.

    Posted by: Trev | Aug 7, 2013 2:00:14 PM

  2. So I support statements like these, but I'm also not entirely sure what a reasonable resolution would be. Should corporations stop sponsoring our own athletes, even those who are gay?

    Posted by: JC | Aug 7, 2013 2:20:38 PM

  3. JC: A reasonable resolution would be for corporations to use their economic influence to urge the IOC to move the games out of Russia.

    Posted by: Trev | Aug 7, 2013 2:28:53 PM

  4. But it's too late to move them out of Russia. The games take years of planning, contracts, etc. No easy answers.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 7, 2013 2:32:09 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 7, 2013 2:38:26 PM

  6. It doesn't matter if it's possible to move them... just that there are enough people calling for them to be moved. The perceived threat is far more important, because it can force the Russian Federation to make a statement. For them to think they are going to lose the Olympics over this sends a HUGE message.

    Posted by: brian | Aug 7, 2013 2:40:36 PM

  7. I'd like to see NBC's Olympic logo have blood coming out of the rainbow colors. There has to be a few graphic designer people that read this news blog that can make this.

    Posted by: Edd | Aug 7, 2013 2:47:21 PM

  8. I agree with Brian.

    Put pressure on sponsors, who will put pressure on NBC, who will put pressure on the IOC, who will put pressure on the Russians.

    The first step is that the IOC should create a committee to simply investigate the feasibility of moving the Games to Vancouver. That's all for the moment.

    That will put a real scare into the Russians. If they see that this MIGHT happen, they might do something.

    If the Games do not move, then there should be a concerted effort among many countries to have all of their team members wear rainbow patches on their uniforms for the Opening Ceremony.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Aug 7, 2013 2:51:13 PM

  9. Putin is too deluded and self-absorbed to think his anti-LGBT pogrom will ever actually come back to bite him.

    He is a psychotic in charge of a country (amazing how many of those there have been over the years and currently). And unless and until there is some serious blow-back he's going to continue to use LGBT folks to distract from his other atrocities.

    I mean, look at Mugabe - he's completely crazy (and yet nobody seems to be able to get him out of office).

    Posted by: YsoSerious | Aug 7, 2013 3:01:44 PM

  10. It is NOT too late to move the Games from Sochi. They could easily be moved to Vancouver or Oslo. Saying we can do nothing is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Posted by: Jay | Aug 7, 2013 3:19:49 PM

  11. Keep protesting, but when it comes to the IOC changing anything, will we be any more persuasive than the protesters back in 2008?

    "Olympics Host China Comes Under Fire for Human Rights Concerns"

    Posted by: Fox | Aug 7, 2013 3:26:11 PM

  12. That was incredibly amateurish. Someone do something more creative and professional than this video. Come on guys, show us something truly well done.

    Maybe Towelroad can sponsor the competition and award a prize.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | Aug 7, 2013 3:48:58 PM

  13. Fox: Yes, but China was moving (very very slowly) in the right direction.
    Russia is doing exactly the opposite

    Posted by: jjose712 | Aug 7, 2013 4:07:54 PM

  14. Boys,
    Welcome back to the Cold War. Russia is no stranger to human rights abuses (anyone here remember the gulags?), and their history of LGBT persecution certainly pre-dates Sochi. Now that they have an event that the entire world is focused on for two weeks in January, this is their way of thumbing their nose at countries like the US, Britain, and France. They probably view us (and them) as conservatives view liberals supposedly forcing their agenda down their throat. I think the stoli dumping and the sponsor shaming is a good way of fanning the flames where the heat really needs to be - on the US to respond to this as a state actor in the form of pushing the games to be moved, or sitting them out. And while I think sitting out the games sounds a bit extreme, if this was any other group that faced this kind of potential persecution - action would have been taken already.

    Posted by: Joe B. | Aug 7, 2013 4:40:56 PM

  15. The IOC should use this opportunity to show how it will handle issues like this in the future. The games should go back to Vancouver. As part of the agreement to host the games, the last site should agree to maintain the sites until the completion of the next games. This could be used for future political or economic turmoil, a deterioration of human rights, or even a natural disaster.

    In exchange for losing the Olympics, we can send Russia our homophobes. They will feel right at home.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 7, 2013 5:46:15 PM

  16. @Brian, @Jay, @Mike: it may not be so easy to move them and whatever you think of Putin, he is smart enough to know when a threat to move them is an empty threat.

    While there are claims that Vancouver can handle it, that might simply refer to facilities the city owns, not hotel slots, etc. Some years ago, I went to several meetings of an industry standards group, and the meetings always seemed to be at some place at the wrong time of the year. They claimed that for a group that size, you needed 3 years lead time to book a large enough space during the best time of the year for each location. I could see how various media organizations might want to put a large number of people in the same hotel and reserve some large conference rooms as work spaces. Would they be able to get those? Also, are there any fees if you cancel an existing reservation in Sochi or for airline flights to Sochi? Just having everyone try to scramble for new reservations in Vancouver would be a mess given the short time remaining.

    The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver expected 10,000 journalists and 500,000 visitors. So the
    first thing to ask is how long would it take to process that many reservations.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 7, 2013 8:37:05 PM

  17. While it might be very difficult to have the games relocated from Sochi, if there's a significant financial hit, wouldn't the IOC become more concerned about human rights issues when selecting sites for future Olympics (concerned that a human rights or other significant issue could lead to funding issues there too)?

    Also, if revenue fails to cover expenses, is the host country liable for covering the difference? It would be so fitting for the Russian government to take a financial bath on this.

    Anyone know how the funding works? What monies go to US teams versus to the producers/host country?

    (P.S. Gay Olympic atheletes who plea not to boycot the games or take other similar action: you're entitled to express an opinion but your personal investment toward Olympic competition raise objectivity questions. Be careful that your advocacy doesn't make you seem like a self-serving, moral sell-out. It can be hard to see where that line is. It's very sad if atheletes lose such a signiicant opportunity however that is trite compared to those suffering in Russia. You haven't even been able to secure consistent, uncontradicted assurances that gay athleletes participating in the Olympics won't be prosecuted. Even worse, the IOC has indicated they might refuse to let openly gay athletes participate. At least explain why you believe participating in the Olympics warrants ignoring this growing adversity.)

    Posted by: GJM | Aug 7, 2013 9:44:30 PM

  18. I missed it. Youtube pulled it before I could see it. Can it be found somewhere else?

    Posted by: curtis | Aug 7, 2013 9:46:49 PM

  19. Let's create a controversy! We're so good at it.

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 7, 2013 10:03:47 PM

  20. A facebook version of the video .....share

    Posted by: Robert-John | Aug 8, 2013 12:11:11 AM

  21. Signatures mean absolutely nothing to the IOC. You could have a million signatures and it wouldn't make a difference. All the IOC cares about is what money that they can make off the Olympics. They couldn't care less about the plight of homos.

    Posted by: Joseph Singer | Aug 8, 2013 12:41:47 AM

  22. Thanks for the Facebook link.

    Well, the corporate sponsors could air lots of specifically pro-gay equality messages in their commercials. It could be more overt, or maybe better more subtle like the Ikea gay couple commercial or the French gay son and father McDonald's commercial. And run them in Russia and everywhere else not just the more gay-approving countries.

    Posted by: emjayay | Aug 8, 2013 2:32:00 AM

  23. Yeah, moving the games is probably nowhere near possible at this point because of hotel and venues also being booked already, even though bringing it up can't hurt. Same thing with corporate support and commercials etc. That's why I suggested the approach above. There are probably a lot of other possibilities as well.

    Posted by: emjayay | Aug 8, 2013 2:35:56 AM

  24. Sadly since it appears no one bothered to archive the video, it's gone from youtube.

    Posted by: Milan | Aug 8, 2013 11:32:36 AM

  25. A poorly executed Olympics in Vancouver would only embolden the Russians and Putin. I don't think this or the lame Vodka stunt are doing anything to solve the problem in Russia. I'd rather see conversation and communication, rather than angry reactions.

    Posted by: Steve | Aug 8, 2013 1:06:16 PM

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