Rosie O’Donnell Wonders If American Athletes Should Go To Sochi And Wear Rainbow Flags As A Statement

rosie094995 I have really mixed feelings about it. Part of me feels yes, we should boycott it. And part of me feels trepidation about all those athletes, some of whom are gay, who have spent their entire lives waiting for this moment that only comes once every four years. Would it be better if America went there and everyone wore a rainbow flag on their arms? I don’t know. It’s a very tough decision. You know, when I hear those stories about what’s going on in Russia, you know, we have to remind ourselves of the amount of gay bashing that happens in our country. Although ours is not sanctioned by the president — you know, Putin seems to be very pro-gay-bashing — it still occurs in our country at a rate that is shameful.”


— Entertainer Rosie O’Donnell in a wide-ranging interview with Huffington Post’s Michelangelo Signorile

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #2014olympicssochi #rosieo'donnell stories and more


  • 2eo

    Why is it the calls for not boycotting are wrapped up in self absorbed notions of American egotism?

    Ah, because that’s exactly what it is.

  • mgmchicago


    Because Americans are taught to self-actualize and embrace the concept of individual freedom (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) Life is short and you only get one shot at it. If you are agnostic (as I am) – there is no afterlife to “get the good stuff.” You either get it now – or never. The beauty of America is that you are allowed – and encouraged – to live your life as you see fit (freedom of choice, etc.) A healthy ego supports personal success, confidence, and happiness. Yes, some American’s take this to the extreme (selfishness) – but I think our country and it’s people do make an effort to export this freedom of self-actualization to other countries. When one is confident and secure (and successful, fulfilled, and wealthy), one then has the capability to help others.

  • andy_d

    What about those of us who are part of the “move the olympics” camp? There are venues that can handle it.

  • Cam

    It’s a shame that people like O’Donell are asked questions as if they are experts simply because they are gay.

    Rosie seems to have missed the part where the American Athletes CAN’T wear rainbow flags because the IOC stated flat out that any athlete making any kind of political statement against Russia’s laws (Holding hands, wearing a rainbow pin) would be immediately disqualified and sent home. It’s a shame, if she knew anything about the situation she could have pointed out the bigotry and support of Russia that the IOC is engaged in.

    Also Amazing that Rosie seems to think that legalized gay bashing supported by the govt. is somehow the same as bashing that happen in a country where they are illegal and prosecuted. She literally sounds like she is unable to read.

  • 2eo

    @mgmchicago: I think you’ve misinterpreted how the world views the American machine.

    We in the UK are your closest allies bar none, and we consider your government imperialistic buffoons who think they rule the world. That’s uniform through the left wing like the Guardian, the centrist like the BBC [I admit there has being a swing to the right by the BBC since this vile Tory government came in and threatened their jobs] and the right like the Telegraph.

  • crowebobby

    And if the Russians actually do imprison a bunch of foreign athletes and protesters for wearing rainbow flag pins, what is the American government going to do about it? Go to war with them? I don’t think so. It’s so easy to be brave when it’s not your ass that’s on the line.

  • MK Ultra

    I actually think that everyone should go to the Olympics and try to make a statement. Of course, it would only work if many countries are involved and co-ordinate it. Teams from North and South America, and Western Europe. It would be a historic event and embarrass Putin in his own country. Will the IOC really kick out half the world, especially homes of some of their biggest sponsors.
    The reason I prefer this to boycott is that the Olympics is a huge, world reaching propaganda platform. The PR power of that podium outweighs the PR power of a boycott, though I do think the boycott did great in getting mass attention to this issue.
    Putin is definitely hoping this will be the platform that he gets to show off the “New Russia”. That’s why he’s trying to silence any criticism. If he’s successful it will on legitimize what’s happening in Russia.
    Of course, that means our teams are going to have to work like hell to being home more medals than the Russians, who you can guarantee have been training their asses off.

  • mgmchicago

    @2eo: @2eo: @2eo: @2eo:

    Yes, I am sure that there are some Brits and others who think this. Sometimes we Americans also think this of our government – particularly the more politically left-leaning, like myself. However – aside from manifest destiny – America does not want to rule the world. We want to offer the world the opportunity to rule itself under the precepts that we believe – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This includes racial and gender equality and the opportunity for a good education and financial stability. Theoretically, that is why we intervene in governments that are cruel to their own citizens – to help to establish a government that offers their citizens a meaningful choice in how they live their lives. Big picture (and I mean really big) this would create a world where we all live together in harmony and wars would eventually cease. Without the enormous expense of the world-wide industrial military complex – just imagine what we could accomplish for mankind.

    Regarding an Olympics boycott – the goal of the Olympics is for all nations to join together in a celebration of sport and – for a short period of time – to leave politics behind. Theoretically, athletes from different countries – with different ideologies – might just realize that we are all more alike than we are different. Hopefully, this will further the big idea that we are all citizens of the world – and wars would eventually cease.

  • Ottoman

    @2eo: Of course the reality is that if it weren’t for America, Europe would have been overrun by Russia decades ago. And say what you want about Americas’ warring nature, at least we’ve stuck together as one country, unlike European which spent the past two thousand years bashing each other and dividing up into tiny piss ant nations.

  • 2eo

    @Ottoman: Yeah, I mean you’ve never had a civil war, or threats of secession or your own elected officials condoning terrorist attacks or anything of that nature.

    I know American history is ridiculously [email protected] and xenophobic but to set the record straight Britain won the “Battle of Britain” on its own, before Lend-Lease [which you didn’t know existed but will now wikipedia] took full effect.

    But as your schools taught you Rambo, Terminator, Abe Lincoln and Jeezus rode in on their hoverboards and kicked Hitler’s arse while we looked on shocked, and aroused.

  • 2eo

    And no matter what your schools in Texas and the Carolina’s preach The Flintstones are not a fly on the wall, gritty documentary about men walking with Dinosaurs in the time of the lord.

  • 2eo

    There is also little evidence to indicate that the cast of 2.4 Children ever fostered open relations with China.

    The more you know.

  • yaoming

    Just let Johnny Weir handle everything… Oops, he didn’t make the team.

  • jonjct

    keeping it real, this president was all about “marriage is between a man and a woman”, and what’s that except gay bashing? this guy is deceptive and a liar. and no, we should not boycott the games, b/c it’s about the athletes not about you. so just stfu rosie.

  • Kevin B

    @2eo: If by “won the Battle of Britain” you mean “managed not to surrender for a few years until Germany stupidly decided to invade Russia and could no longer focus on you” then yes, you’re right, congratulations on that.

    I guess the point is if you’re going to be silly and disparaging for no good reason then you earn the same in return.

    Back to the real point, I would expect that Britain, of all countries, would understand that, as the most powerful country in the world (and on that point there’s really no contention), America feels a sense of responsibility for the state of the world beyond our borders. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous that Britain, which essentially invented Imperialism, wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what America does and the imperialist system.

    Also, you may think of yourselves as our closest ally, but everyone here knows it’s really Canada. Sorry you had to find out this way. I hope we can still be friends.

  • 2eo

    @Kevin B: “I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous that Britain, which essentially invented Imperialism, wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what America does and the imperialist system.”

    I know you won’t have ever heard of the Romans, Mongols, Numerous Chinese dynasties, Japanese armies, Byzantines, Persians and a host of other empires that existed long before the British Empire.

    Just because they’re not from America doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. World history, unlike “world series” sports in the USA are actually about the rest of the world, which contrary to your debased [email protected] overtones does actually exist and does things too.

    *Thumbs up*

    I’m starting to feel like I’m just pushing children down stairs now.

    Also, I’m pro distancing ourselves politically from America, I don’t want my country poisoned by the hatred of foreigners and devout religious belief.

  • jwrappaport

    @2eo: Your bit about the children down the stairs remind me of an old flame of mine. He was an English ex-pat who used to call me a “bloody Yank,” and he’d always laugh at how the US was like a big spoiled teenager who ran away from his more civilized home.

    I think what Americans don’t realize is how silly it sounds to speak of American exceptionalism considering our nation was little more than fanatical Christians and venture capitalists while Cymbeline and The Tempest opened at the Globe. Or to speak of democracy when our legislature often speaks for no one but the moneyed elite. Or to speak of liberty when our own politicians and judges extend the concept no further than a corporation’s right to buy elections and destroy the natural world.

    There are legitimately great and wonderful things about the US. I can name many – the Grand Canyon, Leonard Bernstein, jazz, and the countless hot soldiers and marines I see on my way to class. But I grow weary of the constant refrain of, “We’re number one!” or “We singlehandedly saved the world from Nazism and Communism!” These things simply aren’t true, and even if they were, they would justify nothing.

  • the other Greg

    @2eo: I’ve always noticed how you walk a fine line with British imperialism. Here’s a Yank who will say, please relax a bit! You guys have a lot to be proud about.

    You did great, overall. For one thing, you got rid of “suttee” in India!

    I had the joy of visiting Hong Kong in colonial days and loved it.

    I live in New England and I have to admit, very occasionally – maybe the American Revolution was a mistake, maybe we should have worked it out. When I see the British imperial regalia on the Old State House in Boston – site of the Boston Massacre in 1770 – I have mixed feelings. And when I go to the extremely civilized dominion of Canada (especially Newfoundland!) I really have mixed feelings.

    Montreal & Quebec City are exceptions because, you know, they still hate you guys and will never get over it.

  • 2eo

    @the other Greg: Yeah, but us Brits realise there is a reason we call Syphilis the French disease.

  • sportsguy1983

    What does she know about athletics? Isn’t she better equipped to answer questions about donut shortages?

  • alterego1980

    @sportsguy1983: That’s just it. She doesn’t know any more than anyone else about the subject. It’s just her opinion expressed in a sound byte. It’s not really Rosie’s fault. But unfortunately, because she’s (used to be) famous, she gets asked her opinion on current events because the interviewer is hoping she’ll say something controversial. And of course it ends up here because She’s a lesbian. The real problem is that people actually pay attention to interviews of people in the bottom of the Hollywood barrel about stuff they don’t know.

  • Spike

    Why does she have an opinion, she isn’t an athlete, she has nothing to do with the Olympics, it’s her choice to watch them or not but her opinion is not applicable. It’s a choice that each athlete needs to make for themselves.

Comments are closed.