Coca-Cola Drops the Ball on Gay Rights at Sochi
Although activists will target other companies too, many hoped Coca-Cola would lead the way with a strong statement against Russia's new laws.
Gay rights group AllOut showed up at Coca-Cola's (NYSE:KO) headquarters in Atlanta on Monday in an effort to urge the longtime Olympic sponsor to demand a repeal of an anti-gay law at the Sochi Games. Put on the books this summer by the Russian parliament and tacitly endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the laws can impose thousands of dollars in fines and even imprisonment on any citizen, visitor, or athlete who expresses gay-affirmative views at the Games.
Billboards reading "Coca-Cola," "Don't Stay Bottled Up," and "Speak Out Against Russia's Anti-Gay Laws" were splashed across trucks that passed through the company's campus while individual protesters picketed across the street from the main gates.
Together, with human rights organization SumOfUs, AllOut was also armed with petitions bearing a half million signatures calling on the soft drink giant to publicly condemn the law.
But Coca-Cola doesn't seem willing to go that distance. Despite reports of meetings among top executives about whether or not to take decisive action -- and consequently the postponement of those meetings -- it appears the company has merely decided to maintain the status quo.
Coca-Cola's official position, posted on the corporate website, is one of boilerplate platitudes that doesn't agree with sanctioned injustice, but stops short of condemning it:
Of course, Coca-Cola isn't the only game in Sochi. Also underwriting the Olympics are mega corporations McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Visa (NYSE:V). Comcast-owned (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC is paying $775 million to broadcast the Games while its journalists will be either muzzled on the highly relevant topic of homosexuality or face the criminal consequences for reporting news.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter