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Olympics Corporate Sponsors Get Grilled On Russian Controversy

Olympic Sponsors

With human rights atrocities causing controversy in Russia, scrutiny of the 2014 Olympic games and its sponsors seems to be at an all time high. LGBT rights advocates have already begun targeting Olympic corporate sponsors such as Procter & Gamble and McDonalds. Now, Buzzfeed is attempting to gather statements from even more corporate sponsors, despite the fact that many seemed reluctant to do so. 

Sochi LogoA vast majority of statements provided back to Buzzfeed seemed to echo prior statements made by the International Olympic Committee. Many even referred to some of those statements directly. Those sponsors included Dow Chemical, Samsung, McDonald’s and Visa, which all used strikingly similar verbiage "down to the adjectives used, suggesting coordination among the sponsors or directly from the IOC itself." All four, for instance, used the sentence, in some form or another, "___________ believes in the spirit of the Games and its unique ability to unite the world in a way that is positive and inspirational."

Panasonic and Adecco, a workforce solutions company, both chose to give responses that were even less committal. Adecco told Buzzfeed “we’re closely monitoring these developments, but I’m afraid we cannot offer a comment at this stage.” Panasonic, meanwhile, informed them that the company “has no involvement in, and is not in a position to comment on political and social matters related to the Olympic Games or specific governments in any country or region.” At the same time, Procter & Gamble and Microsoft chose not to respond to Buzzfeed at all. 

Sochi Olympic RingsGE seemed to be the one sponsor that was willing to hold th IOC accountable in any way, saying in their statement that “we expect the IOC to uphold human rights in every aspect of the Games.” It isn't exactly clear, though, what GE is prepared to do to ensure that standard, or what sort of consequences it intends to present, if any. The IT company Athos took a slightly softer stand, saying that "We are fully confident that the IOC will do the right thing." While that sort of statement is significantly more passive, it at least puts some pressure on the IOC to modify its current stance. 

Some companies also chose to spotlight their previous records of LGBT inclusion and advocacy. One such company was Coca-Cola, which touted its prior record as "a strong supporter of the LGBT community [that has] advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices.” McDonalds also added in their statement that "there’s no room for discrimination under the Golden Arches." 

You can read Buzzfeed's full report HERE

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Comments

  1. Hmm, I already stopped buying my beloved Angel Soft because it's a Georgia-Pacific brand (i.e. the Koch brothers).

    Now I have to stop buying Charmin (P&G).

    WTF am I supposed to wipe my ass with?

    Posted by: crispy | Aug 15, 2013 9:48:30 AM


  2. Try an American Biffy and use less TP. You will never go back.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 15, 2013 12:27:25 PM


  3. just replaced all my home appliances damaged by sandy wouldnt even look at ge . and avoiding mcdonald's could save thousandds of lives a year besides there are other fast food chains were the food is better . we may not be able to boycott all these companies but damn let them know they can't keep taking gay money and not do something positive

    Posted by: walter | Aug 15, 2013 4:30:59 PM


  4. just replaced all my home appliances damaged by sandy wouldnt even look at ge . and avoiding mcdonald's could save thousandds of lives a year besides there are other fast food chains were the food is better . we may not be able to boycott all these companies but damn let them know they can't keep taking gay money and not do something positive

    Posted by: walter | Aug 15, 2013 4:31:00 PM


  5. We need to target one or two sponsors. I say let's go big: Coca Cola. We can tell Coca Cola that they need to pull out of World Cup in Russia in 2018. This way the boycott has time to take effect and will hopefully get a statement from Coca Cola prior to Sochi. This will also let other companies know that the boycott is not over once Sochi is gone. The World Cup in Russia is at risk with better organization.

    Posted by: Michael | Aug 15, 2013 8:54:02 PM


  6. Boycotts will do some damage- but not enough. The sponsors have already paid millions to become an Olympic licensee and expect to earn millions from their advertising and products at the games. The bottom line is will the sponsors give up millions in lieu of gay rights- I don't think so. To the sponsors and IOC, it IS all about money.

    Posted by: DJLee | Aug 16, 2013 3:01:55 AM


  7. We should be publicly and loudly boycotting these companies products, and letting them know exactly why! Let them know that their sponsorship of the Olympics in Russia will damage their reputation and bottom line, not increase it. And it should be made clear to Atheletes that compete in the hope of winning gold and getting lucrative endorsment deals, that those endorsments won't be forthcoming because no company will want the face of their product to be someone that put their own personal goals above human rights. The IOC must be made to realise that even if THEIR policy is not to be political, the Russian government's is not. They will be using the Sochi Olympics as a propaganda tool to show their people that the rest of the world and the IOC (including the companies that sponsored it) endorses what they are doing.

    Posted by: CJ | Aug 17, 2013 12:53:39 PM


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