TAKING THE LEAD

AT&T Becomes First Olympics Sponsor To Condemn Russian Homophobia

AT&T OlympicsIn what one can only hope will become a trend, AT&T has announced that officially condemns Russia’s antigay law, making it the first U.S. corporation to take such a stand. (Full disclosure: AT&T is a sponsor of Gay Cities Inc., which publishes Queerty.)

In a blog post on its website, the telecommunications company noted that it has sponsored the U.S. Olympics team at every opening ceremony since 1984. “The Olympic Games in Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that’s important to all Americans: equality,” the company says.  The company notes the distinction between sponsoring the Games themselves and the U.S. team. The Human Rights Campaign has called upon Game sponsors to take a public stand, which companies such as Coke have studiously avoided doing.

AT&T made it clear that it wasn’t the HRC demand that forced the issue for the company. “AT&T has a long and proud history of support for the LGBT community in the United States and everywhere around the world where we do business,” the company stated. We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.”

The company also threw down the gauntlet. “As  the games begin, we’re here to support and inspire American athletes who’ve worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams,” the blog post concluded. “We also want to be on record with our support for the LGBT community, and we hope that others involved with the Olympic Games will do the same.”

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Kudos to AT&T for taking the first step. Will other companies have the courage to respond to the challenge?