Coca-Cola Defends Arrest Of Russian LGBT Protester

Pavel Lebedev detained
A few days ago we showed you video of Russian LGBT activist Pavel Lebedev being arrested for unfurling the rainbow flag during the Olympic Torch Relay. What you may or may not have noticed was that on the official Olympic security guard's uniform were the Olympic rings and the Coca-Cola logo.

Yesterday the Coca-Cola company released an email statement and responded to the incident and their logo being associated with it in perhaps the worst way possible: by defending the arrest and fining of Lebedev. The statement said, in part:

As a Presenting Partner of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, our logo appears on all of the uniforms for the staff assigned by the Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) to support the Torch Relay.

SOCOG reported that a spectator was prevented from breaching the security perimeter around the Torchbearer. The spectator was detained briefly by local police and was fined.

Not exactly a strong statement from a company who, in that exact same letter, said:

As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.

Americablog has the full statement and a thorough rundown of what all this means for Coke.