For the full 17 day run of the Sochi Games, HRC will track the anticipated 1,500 hours of Olympic programming and provide daily reports on the time they devote to covering the host country’s recently-passed “propaganda” law.
“NBC has a unique opportunity to report on Russia’s inhumane assault on the rights of LGBT people to the millions of American television viewers tuning in to watch the Olympic Games over the next few weeks,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “They’ve promised to not shy away from covering the issue, and we will hold them to their word.”
In June, the Russian government enacted an “anti-propaganda” law that outlaws even modest public gestures of support of the LGBT community. Foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, could face arrest and up to 15 days in jail followed by deportation.
Shortly after its passage, HRC president Chad Griffin sent a letter to the leadership of NBCUniversal, calling on the company to use its exclusive coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games to expose this heinous law.
Last month NBC’s Olympics executive producer Jim Bell told reporters, “We’re not there to poke a sharp stick in anybody’s eye, but we’re not going to shy away from reporting anything either.” Other network spokespersons have directly stated that they will devote time to covering the harassment, discrimination and violence that LGBT Russians face every day.
HRC’s daily reports on NBC’s coverage will be posted online at HRC.org/Russia.
For months HRC has worked to support Russia’s LGBT community and engage American entities with influence within the Russian Federation. Aside from his letter to NBC executives, HRC President Chad Griffin and HRC members and supporters have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to publicly condemn the law and call for its repeal. Griffin has also asked corporate sponsors of the IOC to condemn Russia’s anti-LGBT law, support Russian LGBT advocates, and advocate for equality worldwide.
In December, HRC made its first contribution in the amount of $100,000 to the Russia Freedom Fund, which benefits LGBT activists and advocacy groups in Russia. The donation was made possible because individuals from around the world have joined HRC’s “Love Conquers Hate” campaign, which is centred on a Russian version of its iconic LoveConquersHate t-shirt. Since its launch in November, a number of prominent celebrities, athletes and politicians have joined the campaign, including Madonna, Andy Cohen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lady Gaga, Chelsea Handler, Ricky Martin, Kristen Bell, Kevin Bacon, Jonah Hill, Matt Damon, Robin Thicke, Russell Simmons, Sarah Silverman, and many more.