A small group in front of San Francisco City Hall today at noon was protesting recent "gay propaganda" legislation in Russia outlawing any advocacy of gay rights in that country. It's not a particularly good sign when there are more media than actual protestors, as was the case today, but at least word is getting out, in between the ritual dumping of clear liquids from Russian vodka bottles around the world.
The king of all social media, George Takei, aka Star Trek's original Sulu (or maybe one of his ghostwriters), has just published a blog post urging the 2014 Winter Olympics be moved from Sochi, Russia to Vancouver, Canada which was the host in 2010. He writes, in part:
"There have been urgent calls for boycotts of the Olympics and of Russian exports like vodka. These are understandable: It just doesn’t seem right to see any of our dollars flowing to that nation. But a boycott of the games would punish athletes who have trained for years to participate, and a boycott of Russian vodka isn’t going to effect the kind of change needed. Besides, with Russia’s confirmation that it will enforce its law, our LGBT athletes are in real danger, and their safety must be paramount.
Many believe that such a call to move the Olympics out of Russia goes too far. Would this be their opinion if the law instead called for the arrest of any Jews, Roman Catholics or Muslims should they display any sign of their religion, such as a wearing a yamaka or praying while facing Mecca? Discrimination in any form is a blight upon the Winter Games, and it must not be tolerated.
NBC and the corporate sponsors of the Olympics should be paying close attention, too, and should get behind the “Move the Olympics” movement now, while there is still time to do so. If the Winter Olympics proceed in Sochi, Russia, all of the goodwill they have spent millions to build will evaporate in noisy protests, boycotts, and terrible publicity. I personally will be beating this particular drum loudly, as will many other LGBT actors, activists and allies. Trust me, if you are a corporate brand, you do not want to be associated with the Sochi Olympics."