Of course that claim is false on its face-- the fundamental principles of the Olympic charter call for "respect for universal fundamental ethical principles" and call for a "peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." More damning, the charter calls for "every individual [having] the possibility of practicing sport without discrimination of any kind". Of course all of these principles are completely subverted by Russian political leaders and skinhead-like vigilantes throughout Russia who have been emboldened by the new law to entrap, kidnap, torture and victimize gay youth with near-total impunity.
The IOC was poised to skate over that widely-panned response to the issue, keeping its head down and managing the slow-burn PR disaster as well as it could. They liked to claim that they weren't a political organization and couldn't interfere with the laws and affairs of the host country. That line seemed to be working . . .that is, until now.
There are now reports that Olympic representatives have now become complicit in the Russian effort to suppress protests and the voices of the gay movement within Russia-- all in the effort to ensure a smooth games. We all need to keep in mind that the IOC does not collect dues and is not supported in any way by government funding. The IOC survives solely on the television revenues it charges to broadcast the games in countries across the globe. And if violence or unseemly protests interfere with the staging of the games, the IOC's vital revenue stream (and thus its very existence) is threatened.
The Associated Press has confirmed that official Olympics representatives tackled a gay protester in Voronezh, Russia yesterday for the “crime” of simply holding a rainbow flag as the Olympic flame went by. The photos clearly show that he was in no way a physical threat to bystanders nor attempting to interfere with the torchbearers themselves.
Photos uploaded by his friends show protester Pavel Lebedev pulling out the flag and then being wrestled to the ground as they wait for police to arrive. Lebedev told the Associated Press via the phone that he was still in custody and being subjected to continued questioning.
This incident comes on the heels of Putin's shocking public statements last week, in which he ignorantly conflated pedophilia and homosexuality. Insulting all tourists to the Sochi Olympics, Putin lectured gay visitors that they are welcome in Russia, but must "leave the children in peace." Yeah, right-- as if gay people are going to spend thousands of dollars on airfare, hotels and event tickets just to corrupt Russian youth. Seems like Russian politicians and homophobes are doing a pretty good job of screwing up the minds of Russian kids already.
In the meantime, the Olympic torch continues on its journey-- serving as a shining beacon of bigotry and intolerance to all Russians.