Coca-Cola executives are just days away from deciding whether or not to speak out against Russia’s brutal new anti-gay laws — and we need to show them the potential brand damage at stake if they stay silent.
Coke is a major sponsor of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics should be about celebrating all that is good in humanity. But instead, the Sochi Olympics risks being known for hatred and homophobia, due to a draconian new Russian anti-gay law that criminalizes even coming out of the closet.
So far, Coke has remained silent on Russia’s LGBT crackdown — that’s why we’re joining with AllOut to show Coke how many people want the company to speak out against this law. If we succeed, we can set off an earthshaking domino effect that pushes other international sponsors to follow.
This is the best shot we have at creating a billion-dollar problem for Russia that can ultimately push it to overturn its horrific anti-gay laws.
Russia’s anti-gay law forbids anyone from “promoting non-traditional sexual relations’. In practice, this means anyone can be arrested and jailed for something as simple as coming out, wearing a rainbow pin, or demonstrating in public.
Mega-corporations like Coca-Cola have invested millions in sponsoring the Olympics and billions in their operations in Russia. In effect, Coca-Cola and others are bankrolling the Sochi Olympics. This gives them huge influence on the thinking of the International Olympic Committee and the Russian government.
It’s easy to think we can’t influence what’s happening in an authoritarian regime like President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But Putin craves legitimacy and glory. If we can get the companies that are paying for his personal public relations exercise to step up and criticize this vicious anti-gay law, then Putin’s Olympic games are in trouble.
As a community, we’ve shown what can be achieved when we work together for LGBT rights. We’ve fought against transphobia in newspapers like the Daily Mail. Together, we persuaded Pepsi to fight against Uganda’s anti-gay law, and we ran a huge campaign to thank Starbucks for supporting marriage equality. We’re defending the most basic of all human rights: the right to life, the right to live free of unfair arrest, and the right to be yourself.
Thanks for all you do,
Martin, Anthony, Claiborne, Kaytee and all of us at SumofUs
Russia stirs discord for Olympics with anti-gay law, The Boston Globe, 07 August 2013.
Russia passes law banning gay ‘propaganda’, The Guardian, 11 June 2013.