Ireland’s Trinity College to Ban Coca-Cola, P&G Products During Sochi Games

Citing Coca-Cola's refusal to denounce Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws, Ireland’s Trinity College has announced that products by the Olympic sponsor will be banned from the campus during the upcoming Sochi Games. Products made by Proctor & Gamble, also a sponsor, will be banned as well.

Trinity reports that LGBTQ Rights Officer for Trinity College Dublin Students' Union, Stephen Hatton wrote a letter to Coca-Cola announcing their school's intent to boycott the company:

"Your company had an unparalleled opportunity to denounce the vulgar and inhumane Anti-Gay Laws of Russia on a worldwide stage, an action which, if made, would have undoubtedly sparked global awareness and positive change for the LGBTQ community in Russia and beyond."

Leanna Byrne, Communications Officer with TCDSU, says the ban “sends our a strong message”

“We’ve been mandated by the students to do this,” she said. “I think it’s very important that we stand by our minority groups. People might think it is not a student issue, but it it certainly is for a lot of  the people in college.”

She added: “There seems to be a lot of positive reaction from LGBT societies and organisations throughout the country.

TCDSU has also written to Coca-Cola about the company’s recent removal of a gay marriage scene from an Irish TV advertisement, saying that the omission is “an open insult to the LGBTQ community in Ireland and further adds to Coca-Cola’s complete disregard for LGBTQ people on an international level. 


  1. jamal49 says

    Much applause for the principled, courageous stand of Trinity College. This is the warning shot across the bow of every corporate sponsor who thinks that they can skate through Sochi with no consequences for their craven support for Russia’s virulent anti-LGBT legislation and equally virulent anti-LGBT public policies.

  2. GregV says

    I am for now still buying some of the sponsors’ products, but will gladly become a part of a large-scale boycott once it is more organized.
    I think it might be best to concentrate on one sponsor at a time. (For example, no use of the VISA card one week, no Coke products the next week, no McDonald’s the next week, no P&G the next week.) Maybe the worst offender should be targeted first.
    I use my VISA card all the time, but can easily stick it in a drawer and use AmEx or MasterCard instead (maybe permanently if they do nothing positive right through the Games.)
    Coca-Cola makes a lot of very unhealthy food, so if we give up their products over their poor standard of human rights we’ll all be better off for other reasons anyway.
    I spent a lot at Starbucks last year, but am glad to spend with a company like that that has a backbone and stands up for human rights.

  3. Vera says

    Ugh, I expected this from uppity American college students, but really, Ireland? Honestly I had a coke today… I guess I’m part of a machine that single handedly oppresses Russian gays and lesbians…

    The problem I really have with the boycotts is that they presume a bit too much…
    1: Somehow buying a can of coke directly contributes to oppression.
    2: Coca-Cola has sponsored every Olympics (and the World Cup) for years, evens that are about bringing people together from all nations.
    3: Coca-Cola supports the Olympics, not the Russian Government.
    4: Someway, somehow these boycotts will effect Russia, here in South Africa, it wasn’t the uppity White Westererns that brought down Apartheid with their Sanctions and Free Mandela protests, (despite what they would like to believe), it was all internal.

    I guess the gist of my opinion on the issue is that it seems just so… juvenile and it’s boycotting the wrong people.

  4. says

    @ VERA :

    It’s never ‘juvenile’ to protest at a despicable law and to make your views known to the enablers.
    And some of the most profound reforms in society have originated on university campuses…..I’m not going to bother giving you a list of what you should already know before putting pen to paper.

    And you are totally wrong; the boycott of South Africa did bring about change and no, it was not ‘ all internal’.
    And ” uppity American college students ” and “but really, Ireland “………..

    What a condescending troll you are.

  5. JackFknTwist says

    PS :
    Furthermore :

    Re South Africa, the role played by sanctions has been verified by Kadar Asmal, Minister in the First post Apartheid Government, and he lectured at Trinity for at least ten years !
    Yeah, ” really Ireland !!!!

  6. Vera says

    Where do I start?
    I’ll ignore the defamatory comments and focus on the challenge to my assertions. Okay! SO!

    For as long as they have existed, the youth on college campuses have always been politically active and socially conscious. Nothing wrong with that, but too often they lack a praxis to their arguments (Refer, ‘Occupy Movement’) but that’s another issue. In the US, 71% of college students vote, and young people make up 19% of the electorate (that is, registered to vote), however their actions rarely affect the change they want to see since not only do they not turn out in numbers proportionate to their population, their interests are often overshadowed by the interests of older citizens (more specifically, senior citizens).

    This lies in the fact that voting (especialy amongst the *educated*) youth of the country goes in peaks and valleys greater than any other demographic. Barrack Obama was able to energize this base in 2008 like never before, but lost most of that force by 2010, and it further declined in 2012.

    To tie this all together…

    The youth population has always been a very unimportant aspect of both the electorate and societal politics beyond sensationalism. Also, students are frequently mercurical and disorganized, focusing their efforts on one ‘trendy’ human rights or societal issue and then shifting it after the storm has passed. It is easier to wait out their angst for a few months then to spend those months gearing up for legislation that will lack the popular support it had been the debate began since popular opinion will have forgotten about the issue.

    Student protests often spark an interest in an issue, but the students themselves are rarely the ones to carry anything to victory. Feminism, Civil Rights, Gay Marriage, might be hot issues of the youth, but as history has shown, no one really cares what they think and they frequently go back and forth between stages of activism and longer stages of dormancy.

    In regards to the South African situation, Sanctions did little to further the end of Apartheid, they dropped the value of the Rand, but that was more due to the violence that gripped South Africa in the period between 1986 to 1994. Doing business became near impossible, yes to save face, but also because the political machine in South Africa was powerless to secure business interests.

    A very interesting film called ‘Endgame’ came out four or five years ago and depicts the way Apartheid really ended, which was a mix of corporate pressure, quiet diplomacy, and the white government cutting their losses in the very stereotypical way other African countries dominated by Whites had done previously. “Give them parliament, keep the bank”.

  7. Simon says

    What you said is an oversimplification of history. Of course not all student movements were successful or had lasting impacts.
    For example, the anti-Vietnam war movements in the US started in a few campuses and resulted in the US withdrawal from Vietnam many years later. The student protests in China in 1989 almost brought down the communist government.

  8. Vera says

    @Simon, those are far worse oversimplifications…

    Anti-Vietnam protests did a lot, but the change in public opinion fostered by the media did far more than students ever did. Not to mention the Vietnam war endangered talks with China and the Soviets by 1972, which lead to the American withdrawal in the light of the Paris Peace talks.

    And the Tiananmen Square protests did indeed do something to the PRC, but it ended up reversing or delaying many of the changes the Communist Part wanted (or was planning to implement). In the wake of the protests, the democracy movement was crushed, political reforms were held off, and economic restructuring took another form. Those protests effectively turned China into the politically repressed, but ‘do whatever else you want’ state it is today. They appeased the people by giving them some token reforms later in the 90’s after the protests were behind them, and there was no organized movement to demand anything more…

  9. Simon says

    You may even say it was Nixon who actually withdrew from Vietnam and his role was more important than any one else. It is difficult to say who is more or less important. But the students did play a role in the anti-war movements.

  10. andrew says

    Good for them. The “boycott” comes right out of Irish History. It refers to the time when some Irish people refused to deal with an unfair English land owner named Captain Boycott. Actions that shine a light on injustice, prejudice and discrimination are all to the good.

  11. Icebloo says

    I stopped drinking sodas years ago. They are poison.

    I would like to get an up to date list of all of the companies owned by Coca-Cola – I know they also own a couple of bottled water companies as well as some chocolate companies.

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