Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation that was passed last summer, has caused an uproar with the LGBT and other human rights organizations around the world. Corporate sponsors are finding it difficult to determine their responsibility and the appropriate course of action, regarding alignment of internal commitments to diversity with their role as an Olympic sponsor. However, certain companies and sponsors have raised their voices and took a stand towards opposing Russia’s law.
“Principle 6” which was launched by Athlete Ally, All Out and American Apparel gave athletes, government representatives and citizens a platform for advocacy regarding LGBT equality ahead of and during the Olympics. The campaign allows people to express support for equality without going against the “Rule 50” law of the Olympic charter. “Rule 50” prohibits political speech at the games. Over a hundred Olympians, athletes and citizens around the globe are speaking out in support of equality and non-discrimination in Russia. Social media is being utilized by these athletes and advocates to increase the awareness of equality. Some of the athletes who advocating for this movement are Megan Rapinoe, Caryn Davies, Seth Wescott, Belle Brockoff, Wade Davis, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe.
Julie Dorf, Senior Adviser at the Council for global equality, stated, “Sochi in many ways is a beginning of a new chapter in the LGBT movement. and our work is to educate people at home.”
In essence to Dorf’s comment, I believe social media is an excellent tool to educate people at home regarding the anti-gay legislation in Russia. I believe social media is crucial for this movement due to people following the Olympics on many social media outlets and hashtags regarding the issue will increase the awareness.
However, there are five companies who expressed their opinions for opposing Russia’s Law and openly stated their support on gay rights. Chevy launched a commercial, “The New Us” including a gay male couple with a daughter and son and also showed a same sex wedding ceremony. I’m sure everyone took notice of Google’s search engine’s illustrated logo of athletes performing winter sports with a rainbow background and was released the same time the opening ceremony in Russia happened. AT&T posted a blog opposing Russia’s anti-propaganda law as well as Chobani. Lastly, DeVry University made a statement supporting the diversity of the US Olympic Athletes and is against Russia’s Anti-LGBT law and supports all efforts to improve LGBT equality.
As for Google simply just changing their search engine logo, do you believe they made the strongest opinion out of all the companies? No statement was made besides Google believing the change of the logo will do the job as to where their opinion stands. Do you think as a company it is better to express your opinion through words, or is it better to stay silent and make a drastic change? I believe Google showed their marketing strengths and creatively extremely well by changing their logo to express their view point on the issue!