First it was Russian vodka. Now it's Coke's turn.
The international backlash against Russia's antigay legislation hit Coca-Cola today as New York City LGBT activist groups not only took to the streets but crushed Coke cans on them and poured out bottles of the carbonated beverage into the sewers.
Queer Nation NY and RUSA LGBT staged a demonstration in Times Square on August 29 to protest Coca Cola's sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The activist organizations stated in a news release that they are demanding that the company withdraw its sponsorship.
“By sponsoring the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Coca-Cola is associating its brands with state-sanctioned gay-bashing,” Queer Nation cofounder Alan Klein stated. “Coca-Cola is sacrificing the safety and security of Russian LGBT people for profit—a position that opposes fundamental Olympic principles, runs counter to the International Olympic Committee charter, and that will tarnish its global image for decades to come.”
Klein also noted that Coca-Cola also sponsored the Olympics in Nazi Germany in 1936.
Queer Nation NY also made a list of demands that it wants Coca-Cola to satisfy:
- Withdraw its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Games in Russia.
- Release a statement in English and Russian that condemns workplace discrimination, harassment, and bullying directed at customers and employees based on gender identity and sexual orientation
- Publish and publicize its LGBT employment policies on its Russian website in Russian and on physical bulletin boards and websites at all Coca-Cola owned and operated facilities.
- Conduct periodic company-wide sensitivity trainings about its LGBT employment policies worldwide.
- Institute a long-range policy to widely distribute its LGBT employment policies in human resources documentation and internal communications at all owned and operated facilities worldwide.
- Require that all Coca-Cola bottlers, distributors and vendors implement LGBT employment policies as a condition of their contract with The Coca-Cola Company.
Will Coke's loss be Pepsi's gain?