Despite a petition that was signed by over 125,000 supporters asking the world’s biggest drinks manufacturer to speak out, Coca-Cola has failed to pass comment about Russia’s anti-gay laws.
In an email from the petitioning site AllOut.org, organisers said:
‘Coca-Cola’s statement completely ignored people facing discrimination and abuse in Russia. Instead, they tried to rely on their history of supporting equality in countries like the US. That’s not enough – you can’t support lesbian, gay, bi and trans people when it’s convenient and stay silent when they need you the most.
‘In the time it took for Coca-Cola to issue their weak statement, the violence in Russia escalated. Anti-gay thugs broke into a meeting of organisers, beat people with baseball bats, and even shot one man in the eye. Over the weekend, another group even fired guns at a gay club in Moscow.’
Coca-Cola is one of the Sochi Winter Olympic main sponsors, along with ATOS, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Visa.
In research conducted by TheGayUK, we asked readers if a company’s sponsorship of the Sochi Winter Olympics threatened a company’s LGBT friendly image, to which 94.5% of respondents said that they agreed.
In a letter to the Human Rights Campaign, Edward E. Potter, the director of Global Workplace Rights at Coca-Cola said:
‘We have a longstanding commitment to the LGBT community. It is reflected in our statement that is available on our public website. We will continue to demonstrate our support of the LGBT community and, more broadly, promote our values for diversity through our policies and actions.
‘In the spirit of the Olympic Charter, as I indicated in my June letter, we believe the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken seriously the human rights concerns you have raised and followed up on them with a strong sense of urgency. As part of our long-term partnership with the IOC, we continually engage with them on various issues, including those that you have raised, that relate specifically to the Olympic Games.’
Read the letter to HRC
AllOut are now asking supporters to help create a campaign that will target Coca-Cola around the world. To find out more click here.