NEW YORK CITY — As discussions about Russia’s anti-LGBT laws dominate coverage of the lead-up to the planned Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, only one corporate sponsor of the Olympics, General Electric, is pressing the International Olympic Committee publicly for action in support of human rights in response to inquiries from BuzzFeed.
While several companies pointed to their own support for LGBT rights — including, as BuzzFeed reported Tuesday, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s — few of the Games’ key sponsors were willing to engage the IOC in any specific request for more action. Several, in fact, provided BuzzFeed with identical language backing the IOC’s current position that it has received assurances from the Russian government that the games will not be affected by the new law banning LGBT “propaganda” being shown to minors.
A GE spokeswoman, however, told BuzzFeed: “We expect the IOC to uphold human rights in every aspect of the Games.”
BuzzFeed inquired with all 10 of the Olympic Games’ marquee sponsors, as well as several other sponsors, about their response to current questions about the anti-LGBT environment in Russia. On one end of the spectrum, the electronic company Panasonic dismissed the notion of engaging on the question of civil rights. The company “has no involvement in, and is not in a position to comment on political and social matters related to the Olympic Games or specific governments in any country or region,” Panasonic’s spokeswoman said in an email.