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.
Meanwhile, a sudden and suspect message of tolerance came from Vladimir Putin on Monday. The Russian president, who has stood by the law, now appears to be doing some late-game damage control. During an inspection of the venues at Sochi, he told the head of the IOC that Russia will “do its best to make sure that participants and guests of the Sochi Games feel comfortable irrespective of their nationality, race, or sexual orientation.”
As it stands, the federal law -- written in anticipation of the Winter Games -- is still very much in black and white, with Russia’s sports minister assuring its enforcement.
Putin has a lot riding on Sochi. Far more than celebrating athleticism, his country’s $50 million investment in the Games will cast a worldwide spotlight on a modernized Russia largely unseen since its break from the Soviet Union and Communist rule.
Ironically, it’s civil rights that truly make a country advanced, and they don’t cost a thing.
Until the law is officially struck from the record, any kind of enlightened-sounding speech is just lip service -- whether it’s coming from a president, or a corporation.
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