US: AT&T speaks out as the first Olympic sponsor to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws

Aaron Day February 5, 2014
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US Olympic Committee sponsor AT&T has spoken out to condemn Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law as the country prepares to host the Winter Olympic Games.

In a blog post, the telecommunications giant said that it condemns the “violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere.”

Although AT&T is not an international sponsor like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola, it has backed the US team for over 30 years.

The post continues: “The Olympic Games in Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that’s important to all Americans: equality.

“As you may know, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community around the world is protesting a Russian anti-LGBT law that bans ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.’ To raise awareness of the issue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on International Olympic Committee (IOC) sponsors to take action and stand up for LGBT equality.”

President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors.

The company adds: “As the games begin, we’re here to support and inspire American athletes who’ve worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams.

“We also want to be on record with our support for the LGBT community, and we hope that others involved with the Olympic Games will do the same.”

Gay rights activists have pressed other Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola to similarly speak up on their position of Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

In August, Coca-Cola – alongside McDonald’s – had stated that they do not condone discrimination in general, but added that they did not think the games should be relocated away from Sochi.

Recently, Coca-Cola was forced to pull the plug on a ‘virtual coke’ website after a row erupted over the site filtering the word “gay”. The company offered an apology for the “unintended outcome.”

More: Americas, anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, US, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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