French President Joins Boycott of Sochi Olympics

Francois Hollande

First it was Germany's President Joachim Gauck, then EU Commissioner Viviane Reding; now France's President François Hollande joins the growing list of major foreign officials that are boycotting the Sochi Olympics in protest of Putin's anti-gay laws. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio:

There are no plans to attend. Top French officials have no plans to be there.

It will be interesting to see what dominos will fall and which leaders will be the next to denounce Russia by way of boycott. For the part of the U.S., there are no present plans for the Obamas to attend which stands in contrast to the Summer Games in London when they announced plans four months in advance. However, a lack of an official statement does not equate an explicit boycott, so we will have to wait and see if our own President does the right thing.


  1. Turn says

    Russia is a brutal, cold detestable place – aside from the antigay laws….no rational nation should be there.

    Russia is gross.

  2. simon says

    It seems a German president has far less political power than a French president. It is good news anyway.

  3. Governor Globe says

    The workers of the Olympics village in Russia are people who face racism and discrimination – build build ! Dictator Putina says ! ….Russia is disgusting on so many levels.

  4. Topol says

    Meanwhile, our own embarrassing gay, Johnny Weir, has been signed by NBC as a Sochi commentator. Weir’s resume listed the Russian Consulate as a source of work until he was signed; now that reference has been deleted.

    Will we have to listen to him defend the Russian persecution of gays throughout the figure skating event? I hope Bob Costas punches him in the face.

  5. FFS says

    Nice. I’m liking the shape of this developing pattern.

    Are the British Royals too apolitical to hope that we get similar proclamations from the Duke, Duchess and Prince Hot Ginge?

  6. AL says

    From what I know, it was never said that the French officials would not attend the Sochi Olympics to protect Russia’s anti-gay laws. There is no requirement for the French president to attend the Olympics and the former French president Sarkozy did not attend all the games during his time in office. Don’t interpret François Hollande’s absence as an act of protest.

  7. Isaak says

    Thank you, Al. Exactly right. They aren’t going but have not said why. Likely just apathy in general for the event. They are French, after all.

  8. Mike says

    No wonder that many countries are now switching to a TOTAL boycott of the Sochi Olympics. Things have unbelievably gone from very bad to even worse!

    If anyone should doubt for even a millisecond of what life is like for gays living in Russia now, perhaps they should read the latest from Buzzfeed. The world has not seen ANYTHING like it since just before the holocaust . . .

    The star of a popular Russian sitcom said that gay people in his country should be burned alive in ovens, to which the studio audience cheered.

    Ivan Okhlobystin, star of a Russian show loosely based on the American show Scrubs, used gay slurs, and ranted about gay fascism in front of a crowd of fans during a spiritual event in Novosibirsk.

    “I’d put them all alive in the oven…it’s a living danger to my children,” Ria Novosti reports him saying. His additional comments that gay people are a danger to his six children, and should be stripped of their rights to vote garnered overwhelming applause,@” according to Buzzfeed.

    Okhlobystin previously served as an Orthodox Christian priest until his priesthood was suspended in 2010. He also made a bid for the presidency in 2011.

    After news of his statements grew, Okhlobystin tweeted that he received death threats from “sodomites.”

    And he is just obeying the new anti gay laws.

  9. Master Adrian says

    The fact that both the Presidents of Germany (Gauck) and France (Hollande) are refusing(!) to go to Russia to show presence at the Sochi Olympic Games (SOG) is telling the world that at least these two Heads of State acknowledge the brutal treatment of gay people by Russian authorities!
    The French Minister of Foreign Affairs (the equivalent of the US Secretary of State) has also stated that no French official shall be attending the SOG!

    Lets tell our own Heads of State to follow Gauck and Hollande, to boycott the Sochi Olympic Games, to show to Putin that the world does not accept bigots, discrimination and hatred!

    Lets urge all bigots and haters to go to Sochi, to show their support for Putin and his bigotry and hate, so that we all will know who is pro or contra Equal Rights!
    (and while they are there, take their passport so they can not get back into the country……. a positive side effect!)

  10. graphicjack says

    That’s actually a wonderful response.. let the athletes go so they aren’t punished if that’s how a lot of people feel(although the Russian gov’t gets $$$ and so do the sponsors) but make a political statement by having the leaders of the countries refuse to attend. I hope others follow. Thank you Germany, France and the EU Commissioner.

  11. AL says

    @ISAAK: Should I feel offended by your comment, since I am French myself? 😉

    I heard on the radio the segment in which Laurent Fabius tells the interviewer that there are no plans to go to Socchi, with no justification whatsoever… He even wishes for the games to be a great success!

    Do we know if the president of Uganda is going? If not, should we consider this as a potest to Russia’s anti-gay laws? Please do not see more to it than there actually is…

    I’m happy Hollande is not going, but as long as he won’t publicly have said that he’s actually boycotting the event because of the anti-gay laws, I won’t think much of his absence.

  12. danswon says

    I fail to see how these are boycotts when Germany and France are still competing in the actual Olympics themselves. Who cares if the politicians are there? No Putin, that’s for sure.

  13. Rad says

    I had thought it was usually relegated to the Vice President to attend these events? I remember Bush 41 going as Veep. Is Joe Biden going to go?

    Personally, I refuse to watch them (and I love the Winter Olympics). I do not agree with the IOC; human persecution trumps “sportsmanship” in my book. This is not a “Political difference or conflict” this is a precursor to all-out genocide.

  14. woody says

    boycott the advertisers.
    that’s where the real leverage is.
    Coke, Dow Chemical, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, McDonald’s, GE, Samsung, Panasonic, Volkswagon.
    Don’t buy anything from them. Don’t give any Panasonic products as christmas presents. Go on a Visa fast. There are plenty of alternatives.

  15. JackFknTwist says

    The boycott is the only way to get the Russian Fascists to listen.
    They will continue to discriminate and push their vile agenda of hate; they now see the West as decadent just to bolster their fascist notions of their own purity and nationality.
    Now where have we heard that song before ?

    All EU Presidents must boycott the Russian Fascists.

  16. q says

    Thank you for your Bravery, President Hollande. Your stance, and the other EU leaders that may follow because of you you and Germany’s president, is inspiring.

  17. q says

    Oh proud Russians!

    They all want to avoid the decadent west by persecuting their lgbts…

    all the while collecting billions in dollars of cash for their sporting events…s

    so they all can drive ferraris, party in NYC and Vegas

    …and totally live a splendid rich lifestyle equal or greater to that of the Decadent West they so despise.


  18. Blake says

    While I agree that Russia is a horrible place, I can’t help but notice that these comments are much more vitriolic that those posted about India. I submit to you that an all-out attack on companies that do business in India would have a much farther reaching impact that boycotting a 14-day event in Russia.