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Simon Callow questions calls for Russian Olympic boycott

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  1. He’s right. But it’s not as dramatic to say that whilst sat in your armchair doing nothing.

    1. Maybe we should girlcott the Sochi games?

  2. I will be boycotting any products that are advertised during a 2014 Sochi broadcast. This will include commercials . Billboards. Or items showing the logo.
    Think this would work if everyone who read this idea copies. . Make 2014 Olympics ads bad for business.

    1. Easier said than done.

      Check out this band of brands:

      P&G is probably the hardest one to avoid, though – this is just their UK brand list:

      1. Maybe G* but think if you see an advert for a let say beer during a broad cast and 200 thousand+ people have said they will stop buying any product they see.
        Just this threat of this happening would have the desired affect..
        Because would you purchase an expensive add spot during the broadcast times and risk the backlash?

        1. I have written to the main sponsors saying exactly that. I will not buy your goods while the olympics is on and that they should not be supporting a world class event in the country. If something bad happens, it will reflect on them and they will be tainted with it for a long time.

          If we all write to them saying this, they will start to get very worried.

  3. Jesse Owens winning in Berlin 1936 may or may not have made a huge statement to the world, but it made no difference whatsoever to the ideology of the Third Reich.

    1. And boycotting South Africa had no effect on the apartheid regime. Americans boycotting Cuba didn’t bring down Catsro. 22 nations boycotted the 1936 olympics, had no effect. 32 nations boycotted the 1986 commonwealth games because of Thatcher – she got another 4 years in power.

      1. You’re completely wrong on South Africa. Their exclusion from world Rugby and their constant vilification because of it WAS THE CATALYST for change in the Apartheid regime. Even politicians of the time recognize this and credit the Rugby Boycott as a main driving force for change in the country.

        1. You think rugby was the catalyst. Really? Oh FFS. You don’t think it had more to do with rioting from the black people in South Africa, demonstrations by South Africans, assassinations, economic sanctions, and political reform? No, you think the catalyst was because a few white guys who throw a ball around were boycotted. Get a grip.

          The only thing that will change russian politics are the LGBT people inside russia.

          The only reason that clause28 no longer exists in the UK is because gay men got themselves into positions of power on the inside, it wasn’t because russia boycotted us, or some sports teams said they weren’t going to come to the commonwealth games.

    2. Sochi is a disaster waiting to happen. The daytime temp on Feb. 7, this year was 55 degrees F. , the date when the Games will officially open next year. According to writers Boris Nemstov and Leonid Martynyuk, “Russia is a winterly country. On the map, it is hard to find a spot where snow would never fall, and where winter sports would not be popular. Yet Putin has found such a spot and decided to hold the winter Olympics there: in the city of Sochi.” (from Winter Olympics in the Subtropics: An Independent Expert Report, May 2013). They also estimate the actual cost for Sochi will be in the range $50 billion, because of embezzlement and kickbacks.

  4. I for one will be boycotting any products that have the 2014 Sochi logo. Or any products that has bought advertising space or time during any Olympic broadcast.
    If will all do this it will make buying air time at the Olympics bad for business.
    It won’t hurt the athletes. Will just affect the profits of any supporters of this anti human rights games.

    1. Me too, I have emailed the supporters telling them this.

  5. keith francis farrell 12 Sep 2013, 1:38pm

    True it might not work, but short of getting this government to open the doors and assist LGBT people to escape from Russia, what else can we do. Sit by quietly while LGBT people are murdered simply because no one wants to upset the apple cart. No. I am sorry but we need to do this boycott. we need to make sure the sponsors also get boycotted. the moment people/business start loosing money they will force the Russian government to do a U-turn. We have to stay strong if we want to see world wide change.
    Furthermore, saying boycott’s don’t work is wrong. They do. I have seen that with my own eyes. I lived in South Africa. I remember the days when sports people could not compete. where things had to be repaired because replacements were not available and if they were their prices would make it impossible

  6. Either host the even in a civilized country, or bar Russian participation in the games.
    I would prefer the latter, since not only can we still engage with LGBT Russians and support them on the ground, but also, banning certain nations from participating in the games not only has a precedent but has proven effective in the past.

  7. “The Sochi Olympic Shame”

  8. Yes – talking to dictators is REALLY useful. Just ask that Mr Chamberlin who spent a long time talking to that nice Mr Hitler ….

  9. Just ask Anita Bryant if boycotts are effective or not.

    1. David Myers 13 Sep 2013, 1:38pm

      Point well taken. Anita Bryant lost her job with Florida orange juice companies and her career ended (rightfully so). Period.

  10. I am amazed that someone as smart as Callow is as uninformed as he is. It is true that Jesse Owens won some medals at the Nazi Olympics of 1936, but that did not one iota of good for the Jews and gays and Roma who died in the concentration camps, nor did it do any good for the African Americans in the U.S. And it is simply not true that boycotts cannot be effective. They frequently are effective. Ask the Florida Citrus Commission. Ask Coors brewing company. Ask Dr. Laura. Ask Target. Ask many other companies that faced boycotts or the prospect of boycotts and who either immediately or eventually changed their policies.

    1. And the nations that boycotted the 1936 olympics also made no difference – Russia (Soviet Union) was one of them. The only thing that made a difference to the nazi regime was dropping bombs on them – but then that was because the German’s invaded Europe and the government were at that time killing millions of Jews in concentration camps.

  11. I assume that Mr Callow would do like-wise if it affected his industry! I don’t think so!

    1. “many gay people in Russia believed such action would do “more harm than good.”

      Where does that info come from? And how many is ‘many’?

    2. Metsän poika 12 Sep 2013, 3:22pm

      Simon Callow, such a dreary man. Right up there with that other gay disappointment, Rupert Everett.

  12. Benjamin Bee 12 Sep 2013, 2:58pm

    For now. Any business told LGBT FRIENDLY, secularist, anti-sexist, supporters of equality, that is selling products of Coca-Cola IS TRAITOR, and supports homotransphobic, theocratic, sexist and discriminatory policies OF RUSSIA.


  13. St Sebastian, the humanist 12 Sep 2013, 3:13pm

    The best outcome (short of the repeal of the anti-gay laws, which seems unlikely) would be that the games would be a huge financial disaster, costing the Russian State billions. Money is always effective as a way of concentrating the mind.

  14. Is Callow being willfully stupid?

    It is possible to boycott Sochi by not watching the games and by informing the sponsors that you are avoiding their products.

    1. That’s it, watch something else on TV, that’ll do it. Russia will go into a recession and all the sponsors will be bankrupt. Only problem is nearly 90% of the coal which is used to power our homes comes from Russia. So you’d better turn your TV off, and your computer, and all your lights too.

      Now who’s being stupid?

  15. I wish to refrain from associating myself with evil. Whether other people characterize my refraining as effective or not, I don’t care.

    I am aware that most people care about money and convenience and entertainment, and not so much about gay people. Most people didn’t care what the Nazis did in the thirties and forties, and just pay lip service to a concern today.

  16. Common sense 12 Sep 2013, 10:40pm

    Callow is absolutely correct.

    Just think about it. If in 1988, the USA had mounted a boycott Britain campaign with intemperate activists making all sorts of allegations about British life, would that have resulted in the repeal of Clause 28?

    I dare say it might have done eventually, particularly if it started impacting on the UK economy but the results of such a vitriolic campaign would have been a polarised society unlikely to grant further rights to gay people.

    As it was, activists within Britain protested and lobbied and won the arguemnt with public opinion meaning that in due course the law was reformed and the British public were also warm to further reform.

    There are activists in Russia that need our support and money to make their own case against this law in Russian in Russia. So lets stop the vilification and talks of boycotts that will only harm British sports people and will turn the Russian people against the cause.

  17. I doubt a boycott will happen. However, what could work would be a ban by media on everything Russian before/during/after the games. Do not use the word Sochi. Do not run any of those ‘Olympic moment’ stories about the host city country, Do not cover any story about a Russian athlete or achievement. Basically ignore everything them during their own games. This would put a focus on all the other athletes and make take away everything Putin values about this event.

  18. Stuart McDonald 13 Sep 2013, 2:46am

    Like “talking” was effective with Hitler in stopping the Holocaust. Stupid f*ck.

  19. I agree with Simon. Openly gay athletes winning medals at Sochi would be inspirational role models for young people growing up gay in Russia. Much better than an invisible boycott.

  20. His assertion that “boycotts are rarely effective” is completely baseless and seems ignorant to the point of stupidity. He’s another talker ignoring South Africa and the successful boycott to end apartheid.

    Talking is great, but then when you’re stopped from talking there’s not much chance of being heard, is there?

    A boycott of the games themselves will be important from an individual perspective, and I don’t give a damn what others say.

    I will no longer buy any CocaCola product, I haven’t bought McDonalds for more than ten years, and I won’t be watching the games or participating in any way. I’ll protest against it and bring up the issue of Fascism in Russia at every opportunity, and I’ll continue to tell everyone willing to listen of the reasons why the IOC is a whimpering and spineless organization with hypocrite bigots at its helm.

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