The Russian government has got an unlikely ally to help enforce its controversial anti-gay propaganda law. The International Olympic Committee has weighed in on actions it will take against athletes who demonstrate any support for gay rights at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
The IOC is determined to make the Olympics free of “political” statements, because, after all this ain’t the goddamn hippie dippie Sixties. Cut your hair and take off that rainbow pin, Johnny Weir!
Seriously, take off that rainbow pin. That and something innocent like same-sex hand-holding during the opening and closing ceremonies in support of Russian gays may have athletes triple Salchowing their way home.
Also, the IOC likely won’t provide a Pride House for LGBT athletes, which it had done for both the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London. The Russian government had previously banned a Pride House, claiming that it was “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” that could incite “social-religious hatred.”
Russia and the IOC haven’t been on the same page for a while, with the IOC claiming that the anti-gay propaganda law wouldn’t affect athletes and attendees. Russia was all, “yeah it will,” and the IOC was like, “wha?,” and then Russia was like, “gotcha bitch!” Now it seems they’re finally speaking each other’s language: hate.
“[T]he IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration,” a spokeswoman told Gay Star News regarding the rainbow pins and LGBT Pride House. “This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary. In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done.”
According to Rule 50, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” The penalty for violating this clause is “disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned” without appeal.
Olympians such as openly gay New Zealand speed skater and occasional nudist Blake Skjellerup had pledged to wear rainbow pins to show solidarity with the oppressed LGBT community in Russia, but neither Russia nor the Olympic Committee is going to tolerate any of that blatant hate-incitement. That’s why there are laws and rules to do that for them.