Late last week we reported on young Russian LGBT activist Pavel Lebedev was detained and arrested for holding a rainbow flag during the Olympic Torch Relay. What you may or may not have noticed was that on the official Olympic security guard’s uniform were the Olympic rings and the Coca-Cola logo.
Yesterday the Coca-Cola company released an email statement and responded to the incident and their logo being associated with it in perhaps the worst way possible: by defending the arrest and fining of Lebedev. The statement said, in part:
As a Presenting Partner of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, our logo appears on all of the uniforms for the staff assigned by the Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) to support the Torch Relay.
SOCOG reported that a spectator was prevented from breaching the security perimeter around the Torchbearer. The spectator was detained briefly by local police and was fined.
Coke then had the nerve to include in the letter:
As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.
Young Pavel Lebedev is a Russian civil rights hero.
Coke is so NOT IT.
Swedish Vodka and Pepsi please.
NOTE: Of course The Coca-Cola Company has received a 100 percent rating from the Human RightsCampaign (HRC) four years in a row for its workplace policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) associates. Coke is a major sponsor of America LGBT nonprofits including the Human Rights Campaign.