An editorial in the relatively moderate to conservative Bloomberg News takes the International Olympics Committee to task, slamming them for their inaction and willful avoidance of Putin’s war on gays and anti-gay laws. Bloomberg clearly notes the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are fast becoming an international embarrassment.
“The International Olympic Committee is letting Russia off far too easy,” the Editorial Board writes. “Russia has argued nonsensically that its new anti-gay law is in keeping with the Olympic Charter’s protections against discrimination, and the IOC simply has accepted it.”
In their desire to get on with preparations for the games, IOC officials may think it best to downplay their ability to influence the politics of host countries. But given that governments often host the Olympics in order to improve their reputations, the committee wields considerable power.
IOC pressure on South Korea’s military dictatorship helped bring about democratic elections before the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the IOC pressed China to drop its law requiring foreign journalists to get government permission before interviewing Chinese citizens.
Now, the IOC should be telling Russia to revoke its anti-gay law in order to conform with the Olympic Charter and remain the host of the Winter Games.
Unless the IOC acts, sponsors such as Coca-Cola Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Visa Inc. will be tied to an officially anti-gay Olympics.
Of course, Bloomberg gets to the heart of the matter for those whose financial fortunes are on the line. Being associated with this travesty will forever scar these multi-billion dollar international conglomerates.
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