The Chairman of NBC Sports Group Mark Lazarus, has announced that the US television network would acknowledge Russia’s anti-gay laws during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, if they were to pose an issue.
The Guardian reports that Lazarus made the announcement that the network would address the law banning homosexual “propaganda”, only if it became an issue, but that it had been assured that the International Olympics Committee had already dealt with Russian authorities directly.
Lazarus said: “The IOC has addressed it with the Russian government and has assured athletes, fans and media that there won’t be any issues.”
In a statement, the IOC said: “The IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.
President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law last month banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. British campaigners have likened the law to Section 28, a now repealed ban on the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools or by local authorities.
Earlier this month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.
He said: “Those days should be long behind us now and for those countries and those governments and regimes who don’t see it that way I think they have to move with the times.”
A number of British and American gay bars have said that they will boycott Russian vodka. One of the most popular Russian sourced vodkas, Stoli, has criticsed the anti-gay policies of the Russian government.
Some campaigners have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics.