“…but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable”
By Cathy Kristofferson, August 1, 2013
A series of tweets from @r_sport, who bills themselves as the “Official host news agency for @Sochi2014″, alerted me to renewed confirmation that Sochi Olympic athletes will NOT in fact be exempt from Russia’s “anti-gay propaganda” laws.
The story quotes the Russian Sports Minister’s confirmation:
“Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko warned Thursday that athletes and visitors to the Sochi Olympics will be subject to the country’s laws against promoting homosexuality, contradicting a statement from the International Olympic Committee that the government had promised they would be exempt.
No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable.”
So just what is the definition of “propagandizing”. The Russian law is broad and vague. It leaves ‘spreading information’ open to everyone’s interpretation. Pro-gay statements, such as proudly waving rainbow flags and wearing pins, certainly qualify.
Will New Zealand’s proudly out speed skater Blake Skjellerup be ‘held accountable’? Will he be arrested, detained for 15 days and then deported just as the Dutch filmmakers? Will he also be banned from returning for 3 years. And would he even want to return!
Skjellerup has stated in press, most recently in an interview with CBC, that he will be wearing his IOC-approved 2010 Olympic rainbow pin. Will it be seen as illegally “propagandizing” this time around? He says he will wear it, but he did express concern:
“I would like to think that because the IOC approved it in a previous Olympic, it’s not something that is going to get me into trouble whether I’m in or out of the village during Sochi.”
There seems to be plenty of reason for concern for everyone still considering attending the Olympic Games in Sochi. It seems more Russian Ministers are declaring the law will be enforced than those whispering to the International Olympic Committee that “athletes and spectators” will be exempt.
What will it take to push the IOC into bold action?
- 10 Actions you can take against Russia | shocking video of Russian Gay Teen torture
- Protests and arrests as Russia’s State Duma passes anti-gay promotion bill unanimously
- Call to Boycott Olympics in homophobic Russia reminds of Apartheid South Africa
- Violent Arrests at pro-Gay Rally in Russia
- Renewed calls for Olympic boycott as gay arrests continue in Russia