Olympic Committee Could Punish Athletes For Pro-Gay “Propaganda” in Russia

BlakeSkjellerup-TrainingThe 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.

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  • GayTampaCowboy

    This should stoke the fire even more with the major countries in the IOC!

  • BitterOldQueen

    But wait, IOC: Isn’t restricting gay and lesbian athletes from expressing their human identity and natural affection because of a religiously-driven political policy also a “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” itself? The IOC is not above taking a stand against local political positions–it participated in the boycott of South Africa due to its policy of apartheid, for instance. Here, for some reason, the IOC is embracing and tacitly (if not directy) supporting an exclusionary, discriminatory policy. Very strange…

  • Kieru

    So where does the IOC draw the line between “being openly homosexual” and “promoting proactive politics”. Is kissing my partner in public a political statement? Holding his hand? What’s next? Can I not even glance at him for fear of breaking some rule?

    This statement is ridiculous, as is not having the Pride house. It’s senseless kowtowing to an arbitrary and ridiculous law that should be deplored. There may not be time to move the Winter Olympics but the IOC could certainly put its foot down in favor of equality.

  • tazz602

    Why don’t we just move the next summer games to Uganda? <—Sarcasm

  • James

    Never mind the big nations – us Kiwi’s have a habit of not taking bully countries sinking our Rainbow Warriors!
    Full marriage equality comes into force next week – telling Blake he can’t wear a pin now is going to make the IOC the drunken guest at the wedding who loudly drops the f (f*g) word when toasting the Grooms!

  • Nikkidane

    So being LGBT is considered a political gesture warranting punishment. Get real! Why not criminalize Jews or Black people?

  • Red_Dragon_888

    Boycott it.

  • 2eo

    Oh wait.

    You mean EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEING SAYING FOR THREE WEEKS, about the IOC working with the Russian government and Facebook to hand over names of activists to deny them visas is completely TRUE.

    Well dog my cats, I’m literally shocked that all the relevant information that pointed at this exact outcome turned out to be true.

    Shocked, well not that shocked.

  • 2eo

    @BitterOldQueen: Don’t be silly, christians are allowed to commit genocide, because it’s us not being tolerant of them for murder by the million.

  • MK Ultra

    Yes, it’s obvious now that the enemy is the IOC, who truly have the opportunity to change things but they don’t give a damn about anything but money. They never intended from the start to try to change anything in Russia. Everything they’ve done has just been empty rhetoric and lip service.
    But now the it looks like the games will go on, I do hope that Western media will embarrass Russia in their time of glory by highlighting the various social and economic problems going on there. For example – abject poverty, child prostitution and sex trade, rampant unemployment and alcoholism, basically the whole bleak situation there that no amount of tidying up for the Olympics can cover up.

  • Ottoman

    the Olympics are a morally bankrupt money making scheme, no surprises here. Of course, the mere fact that the Olympics require athletes align themselves by country is a political statement. As is skating around a rink with your country’s flag in tow.

  • lab

    after waiting years for athletes to start coming out of the closet the IOC is now telling them to go back into the closet or russia will imprison you…wow…talk about progress

  • crowebobby

    If enough athletes — straight as well as gay — refused to go, they would simply have to change the venue. I realize that’s easy for me to say, since I haven’t spent nine-tenths of my life mastering a sport. But…

  • Kieru

    @crowebobby: Never gonna happen. There is simply too much money spent at this stage to just MOVE the games. People really need to give up on this particular goal. It’s idealistic and I wish it could happen but it simply cannot.

    Better options (IMO) would be to have LGBT athletes and allies be vocal about the issues, before during and after the Sochi games. And more than that, news coverage of the games should see this as an opportunity to have a ‘hook’ for game coverage. Discuss Russia’s anti-LGBT policies. Use that as a lens with which to discuss the games – which should be all about equality.

    TBH; I’m not even sure many of the athletes have the OPTION to avoid going. As much money as has been spent on the facilities itself; just as much has been spent sponsoring the training of these athletes, all on the premise that they would appear at the games.

  • Brendan

    So anyone wearing a rosary or WWJD bracelet will be told to remove them, correct? If they bless themselves before competing, will they be force to leave the games for the “religious demonstration”? Yea, I didn’t think so. Every single event there has political demonstrations since the person that win gets their national anthem played! How is playing the national anthem not a political statement? The IOC is clearly unaware of itself and wants to cherry pick what laws should be enforced and how to do so, just like some of those crazy bible thumpers preaching hate from the bible quoting one verse and ignoring the other verses around it. Hate is still alive and well but love will win out in the end…

  • erasure25

    So when a gay athlete embraces and kisses their husband/wife/partner after an event on global TV, is that promoting lgbt? I see huge controversy here. And hood, we need to show how ridiculous anti-gay laws are.

  • Schmice

    Move the Olympics to Canada as George Takei suggested. If the Russians don’t like it, let them boycott the Olympics. Putin is just looking for concessions.

  • Daniel-Reader

    The IOC can never claim to support human rights after this and have anyone think they are credible on any level.

  • mz.sam

    Olympic followers had heard from all sides of the issue, including returning athlete Johnny Weir. But we have yet to hear directly from each participating global Olympic athlete on their stance and/or their plans for and during the games if it is held in Russia. Why not?

  • mezzacanadese

    It isn’t just Putin who hates gays. I read that 80% of the Russian people are anti-gay. Does anybody know if this figure is accurate?

  • mz.sam

    @mezzacanadese: Absolutely correct…many, if not most. Reports include US right-wing Christians are in support of this Russian anti-gay law.

  • Jerry12

    If the non Russian Athletes competing in the Olympics do not vote to “NOT Compete” if the Olympics Committee does not move the Games to Canada, They are all a bunch of Pussies.

  • Jerry12

    Also, I will watch the Opening Cerimoney, and first day’s action to make a list of the TV Sponsors. I will then NOT patronize ANY of their stores, or otherwise purchase anything from them for the next four years yo the next Olympics.

  • Jerry12

    @NO.23 “yo” should be “to”.

  • HeroQueero

    The right to be treated like equal human beings is always a “political agenda” to fascists and those who enjoy oppressing others. Treating others with equal respect is an act of empathy and compassion, not a ploy to fulfill a personal ideal or point of view. In an attempt to save themselves from becoming involved and avoid lawsuits, the IOC has chosen to side with evil, no doubt to protect their lucrative investments in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately for them, love is winning the battle for equality and NOTHING, folks, and I MEAN NOTHING is going to stop it. LOVE. WILL. WIN.

    “No one can stop an idea whose time has come.” ~ Victor Hugo

  • milkcluber

    Tom Waddell, who created the Gay Olympics, was booted from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics when he stood with African American medal winners during the awards and each raised their fist in solidarity and resistance to oppression. Later the U.S. Olympics Committee sued to stop the Gay Games from using the word Olympics, even putting a lien on his home, although other groups like the “Police Olympics” and even the “Rat Olympics” were not sued.
    The past is prologue!

  • HeroQueero

    Had to chime in again because I am SO OUTRAGED! Any athlete with a shred of dignity would not go to these games. I mean, really…Is a gold medal more valuable than a person’s integrity?! I wouldn’t accept ANYTHING from someone who thought I was an abomination and should be criminalized or put to death.

    Y’know what, folks? I say we boycott it all! Every “official” product of the Olympics should be boycotted and them some! Inundate their business with phone calls and emails and let them know that we will not be buying their crap any more! I know I’m not giving any more of my money to those who side with hate. Why should anyone?

  • Call4cs

    BOYCOTT every one who supports this absurd human rights violation.
    Maybe money talks.
    Boycott the sponsors, the networks, the country and its products and of course the IOC.

  • Dakotahgeo

    I propose we boycott the Olympics, pull our athletes, and say a grand “FUCK YOU to the Soviet Union and the IOC!! Case solved. AND.. make sure NO Olympiad sports events are ever held in Communist/gay-hating countries ever again. Their athletes can rot on their practice fields!

  • manjoguy

    Aw, when in Rome do as the…. The Olympics is an athletic event. If the host country says no political statements (especially of something contrary to its cultural beliefs) then so be it. In the future the IOC might want to consider a host country more carefully. But Russia isn’t saying “no homosexuals”. Remember: Russia is not the USA and isn’t bound by the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know, should Olympics be in Iran? Would “women’s liberation” signs, banners and pins be allowed? Would that be shocking to us?

  • lthrmuscl

    now we all KNOW if russia outlawed hetro demonstrations of affection or anti woman or anti black, or Hispanic the IOC would not tolerate any of the russian bs..but gays.. hey we can go suck an egg and shut up. the IOC is a BIG business and its main interest is $$$ not justice. period

  • mrrasheed

    @MK Ultra: Which country are you referring to? Abject poverty, rampant unemployment, child sex trade, and discriminatory laws… sounds like that could be RUSSIA or the good old USA. WHile i think that these policies they have in place are archaic and awful I must acknowledge that if the Olympics were held in the USA depending upon the host city arguments might be very similar. We have been voting to change constitutions to prohibit gays from having equal rights.

    If there is going to be an outcry regarding this it will have to be done by concerned citizens of the world. I do not see our leaders making a huge stand on this issue when our record on gay rights is so poor. We have a woman in congress who’s husband operates a “pray the gay away” practice for christ sake.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @mrrasheed: Ohhhhhhh, that we could “Pray away the Botchmanns!”

  • scotshot

    @MK Ultra: Those same social & economic problems are prevalent in the US also. Never shine a flashlight on a mirror.

  • Marjorie 0120

    If I were a gay athlete, I would go and kick some Russian butt in every event. The EU and the USA will publically proclaim that these gold metals winners are gay. Putin will cringe and squirm, spit and sputter. The black people went through the same thing in Germany where they (blacks), were thought inferior and an American black athlete cleaned their butts proper during the games. Hitler was absolutely livid, it was a victory in more ways than one for American blacks.

    Putin and obam are in a pissing contest of sorts, this would not be a safe time to defy Russian law while there. They have advised and made very clear what their laws are and I would go and be smart enough to obey them or not go and stay home.

  • Marjorie 0120

    @manjoguy: Absolutely right on. This is not a good time to try and prove a point. If a country had death penalty laws for drug possession, would any of you be foolish enough to walk down the street puffing on a doobie. I would certainly hope not. When visiting a foreign country, it’s YOUR responsibility to know the laws and obey them. I think Putin would love an excuse to jail a gay just to rub it in obam’s face, he don’t like him, don’t respect him and sure as hell isn’t afraid of him. If he had one iota of respect, he would have returned Snowden. Instead he offered the guy asylum. Obam is weak and the look of contempt is obvious on Putin’s face. I urge our gay athletes not to go there.

  • sangsue

    @Marjorie 0120:

    And you’re nothing but a Tea Partier who is in a party with people who would love to see you dead. But go on, spew away.

  • sangsue


    I say we also boycott vodka. Hit them in the wallet.

  • Redpalacebulleaglesox

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. It’s as if Avery Brundage was back in charge of the IOC.

  • Rock2XL

    Such a tragic and disgusting state of affairs! The IOC aligned with Russia? Whatever one can do to cost them money and prestige must be done! Boycott and protest everything associated with them! Write letters to newspaper and magazine editors and demand that the mainstream media make known all all of these human rights violations, oppressive laws, and discriminatory practices! Demand of every human rights organization one can find that they censure Russia and the IOC in the strongest terms! Contact representatives in Congress and President Obama demanding official protests, censures, and sanctions against Russia and/or the IOC!

    Let’s brainstorm and think of all the actions that can be taken and then do them!

  • grethomory

    I wish we and other countries would just boycott the Olympics in Russia. I’m sure Russia is looking at this from a financial point of view. Hit them where it hurts….boycott the assholes.

  • greyhound1954

    Where was all this boycott advocacy when the Summer Games were awarded to China? If you don’t want the Olympics hosted by a country that violates human rights, then that pretty much narrows the field down to…no one, including the USA.

  • EGO

    The IOC should not be influenced by Russia or any other bigoted nation.
    Human rights violations should not be tolerated, especially for worldwide
    sporting events. Shame on the IOC.

  • markhfreeman

    Wait a min. This couldn’t be the same IOC that went to Munich even though Hitler was in charge? The same one led by Avery Brundage (major donor to the Asian Art Museum with his collections) who urged the US not to enter the war against Germany because they sorta liked the Nazis? Check it out. The same Avery Brundage who sued gay triathlete Tom Waddell to stop him from using the term Gay Olympics (that’s why they are now the Gay Games or Gay Gaymes or whatever)– but who allowed the name to be used by Special Olympics, Dog Olympics etc.? Who almost took away his home, even as he was dying of AIDS? That IOC?? Couldn’t be.

  • EvonCook

    Naturally, the International Olympic Committee is as homophobic as they come! Don’t any of you remember they stopped the Gay Games from being called the Gay Olympics, seems they own the historical word (!), but they didn’t object to the Dog Olympics. Just more rich bigoted jock pigs who need some good homo sex to wake them up.

  • Werewolfmoon

    By doing this, the Olympic committee are condoning Russia’s actions against the Gay community. It’s like saying; you can go to Nazi Germany, but don’t say anything against the treatment of the Jews (or the Gays for that matter)!

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